Children are the future. A quote that is used as often as it is miss-used.
For me, children are a perfect reflexion of how life stands in a community, a city or even a country. At the same time they show me how life could or even how it should be. Every time I work with children, I am confronted with what humanity let’s them endure. And I am amazed with their strength and resilience, the sheer amount of dreams they have and their ability to imagine the most wonderful outcomes of life. This is why I - time and time again - strive to tell their stories.
The road to Malinivka
December 2017, the Breath care for kids foundation has asked me to document a story, explaining what it is they do, but even more important, why they do it. By following and documenting the story of Ukrainian single mother Tania, looking at the bureaucracy of childcare in Ukraine and visiting street children, problem families and internally displaced families, I have tried to show a broad perspective of how the foundation is helping children, by creating a safe and structured upbringing in countries where this often is quite challenging.
Families of Dang
In 2017 I was commissioned by Reach Out 2 to create family portraits in the Dang region in Nepal. Reach Out 2 is a company that connects philanthropists to projects that meet their social ambitions. Creating Possibilities Nepal is a small foundation in the Dang region, which makes it possible for poor families to have one or more children to go to school. In total I have documented over 45 different families in one of the poorer Southern regions of the country.
The hope of glue
While in Uganda for a personal project, I met Patrick, founder of Raising Up Hope for Uganda. I asked him if I could join him into the slums of Kampala for a few days, to see his work and the children he works with. He was happy and proud to show me the work they did and I was quite in awe while he told me his story; which starts exactly as the stories of the boys in the street he now helps. I’m happy to see his foundation has grown and his vision has started to materialise in a beautiful way. I can’t wait to go back there one day.
Good Shepherd Anna Children's Home
During my travels around the world, I sometimes meet people who ask me to help them out while I’m there anyway. Traveling Sri Lanka, I was asked by the Havonos foundation, to document the story of to nuns, caring for 60 girls who were orphans, street children or who had parents that just couldn’t take care for them properly. While staying here (as the only man in the house) I created a full story with sound and voice over for them, wrote a blog and helped them out, rethinking their kitchen renovations.
Hanukkah Children home
Together with documentary maker Sander van Weert and writer Maartje Grond, I traveled to Ghana in 2015, to capture the story of pastor Moses. He lives in the small town of Sunyani. Together with his Dutch wife Mariette, he started a children’s home harbouring somewhere around 40 children up to the age of 17. In 2014 they also build a primary school en somewhere in the second half of 2019 a junior high school will be opened as well.
Football in Medellin
On assignment in Colombia for PAX, I had included some private time to learn Spanish staying in Medellin. While I was there I met Ed Veldhuizen, a fellow Dutchman who had started his foundation working with street children. Through the immensely popular sport football, he taught these children respect, ethics, working together and by doing so giving them a chance to change their lives.