Initiative for child- care after hurricane

THE HAGUE–Determined to help St. Maarten’s “little ones” after Hurricane Irma, two women, Dorian Neijs and Tjandra Lake, have initiated a project to provide a childcare facility on

the island. The Foundation Care 4 the Kids of St. Maarten was set up for this purpose and the collecting of funds has started.
Neijs and Lake were in the Netherlands to make the last arrangements for their permanent residency on the island when Irma struck. Six months ago Neijs, a social worker, and Lake, a project manager who hails from the island, went to St. Maarten and decided to stay. They had already secured housing and a job.
“A hurricane of an unimaginable strength caused major destruction to our lovely St. Maarten. The images and the stories of family and friends broke our hearts. We decided there is only one thing that we can do and that is to help the children and their parents,” Neijs and Lake said.
Within a week, the two had established a foundation, Care 4 the Kids of St. Maarten, aimed at helping the children, who are also victims of the hurricane’s destruction. “Our goal is to support parents by offering day care facilities and also mental support for these children if needed. Having a day care facility will create the much needed room and time for the parents so they can restore their lives.”
Neijs and Lake have already made contact with different organisations both in St. Maarten and in the Netherlands to streamline their efforts, such as the Red Cross, the White and Yellow Cross, the K1 Britannia Foundation and the Cooperating Funds (“Samenwerkende Fondsen”).
The Care 4 the Kids of St. Maarten Foundation is collecting donations via its website , by fundraising and subsidies. Securing Dutch subsidies is a realistic possibility because their foundation was established in the Netherlands. Neijs and Lake recently gave an outline of their project at the Rotary Club in Rijskwijk through which they hope to get the support of Dutch businesses.
Neijs and Lake will return to St. Maarten shortly to make an inventory of what kind of child care is needed, whether it is a day care for babies and small children, after-school facilities or weekend care, and where on the island the need is the most urgent. Local day care centres will be consulted to determine the exact need. “We will check what is most needed and supplement the help and care that already exists,” said Neijs and Lake.
“We want to return to St. Maarten as soon as possible and get to work. We have a background in social work and project management, and we want to share our know-how, our energy and love in these difficult and insecure times and to help get St. Maarten back on its feet,” said the two, whose mission can be followed on Facebook.

Source: The Daily Herald