From April – October 2010, I was a Dekeyser & Friends Fellow on the Cebu Rehousing Project in the Phillipines.
To learn about development and help laying the foundation stone for a new village’ was the Challenge given to us Fellows by Father Heinz, the project Friend. Back then about 250 families lived in shanties and makeshift houses made of garbage on the dump, and the new village has the capacity for 50 of the families to resettle. The income derived from scavenging on the dump is insufficient to meet even the most basic daily needs, so the resettling includes a livelihood scheme to allow the villagers to improve their income away from the dump side.
We spent the first three months visiting existing projects run by a local Philippine NGO, JPIC-IDC, which has promoted various successful rehousing projects and has worked with the local community for years to build up mutual trust and to empower the people to organize themselves. In the last three months of our time in Cebu we were involved in building the new village from scratch. We prepared the site development and helped construct a community center. Together with experts on skill development we trained the families to start micro-finance cooperatives in sustainable ecological farming, livestock breeding and handicrafts, so that the families could make a living and sustain themselves in a healthy way.
During the duration of this Fellowship, the Dekeyser and Friends Foundation encouraged us to dream and I can 100% say JARDS Products would not be what it currently is without the help of Dekeyser & Friends Foundation.
The Founder & Chairman of the D & F Board, Bobby Dekeyser recently released his autobiography. I was mentioned in the book and even though it is only one paragraph I still can not put into one word how I felt when I saw my name there – the feeling is just so amazing. Just follow your dreams is the D & F slogan, and with the D & F help I am.
The book is in German and can be found on Amazon, but I got the paragraph translated. Happy reading :)!
“NOT FOR SALE” – Bobby Dekeyser
Early school leaver, Football professional, world businessman –
The totally crazy story of Bobby Dekeyser
The conditions of life are miserable, there is a lack of sanitary facilities as well as of food and water and the dispossessed have no chance to get education or work. Especially socially disadvantaged like widows or AIDS sufferer live a depressingly life. After his own experiences and talks with Friend Pater Heinz Kulüke George founded an organization, which exactly helps this marginal group. They support them with building houses and sanitary facilities and help them by getting access to water. The recipients are paying the costs of their new homes back over several years and this is the way how the NGO finances itself for a long-term period. “Dekeyser & Friends” made the foundation of the NGO possible from the financial part and paid the first 15 houses. With the help of a mentor George planned a trip through America in order to collect donates for the construction of several fountains as well as to build up a network of aid organizations to realize his ideas.
Shubhangi is a young woman from Mumbai has founded an initiative for street children already before the dance project in Istanbul started. With the help of “Dekeyser & Friends” she further developed her little initiative to a NGO called “Hamara Footpath”. More than 30 children can play in the rooms of “Hamara Footpath” and get medical aid and education because of the collaboration with other Organizations. Shubhangi wants to show them a way back to education and the possibility to start an apprenticeship.
In Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa, scholarship student Rosebill opened a factory for bamboo furniture with our help. These furniture’s are made out of such high quality that they are also suitable for export. She teaches young women in weaving and wants to offer scholarships to young people of Malawi out of the profits of the business.
These are just three examples for initiatives which our fellows started. Maybe one day there is somebody among them who changes life of thousands of people. We have the wish that the foundation becomes a platform on the one hand for experienced personalities to share their knowledge and on the other for young people to receive inspiration. I for myself see my life’s work in reassuring others.