‘Death is not on the agenda of many organisations’
A funeral is not just a heavy emotional burden; it can also put people into significant debt. Zorg van de Zaak Foundation wants to prevent people from ending up in difficult situations as much as possible. Therefore, we started giving financial support to SamSam. SamSam Funeral coaching helps people with a low income arrange a funeral. We spoke to the founder of the organisation, Andy Moeijes. She proves tireless in her efforts and she is a true advocate: ‘Death is no on the agenda of many organisations’.
Andy Moeijes took the initiative of founding SamSam in 2013. She noticed more people ending up in financial trouble after a funeral in Rotterdam. ‘Before, you could just put in a phone call. A funeral director would come over and pick up the body. One way or another, it would turn out okay; either through a municipal funeral or through special welfare. She argues that a lot has changed in this respect over the last few years. Not everybody is able to save up for funeral insurance. But subsidy possibilities have been phased out as well. ‘When it comes to special welfare, the rules have become more frugal. If you are very stressed and you have, for instance, a language lag, it is almost impossible to arrange the welfare subsidy.’
Moeijes is a proper networker. As a community worker, she made an effort for years on end for vulnerable people in neighbourhoods and Burroughs and she knew her way around many public and societal organisations. SamSam was founded by these organisations, including funeral directors, a social worker, the senior citizens’ union and churches in the Rijnmond area.
‘Everybody I initially asked for money, thought I was a smart woman who wanted to gather clients. They got the impression that SamSam was a PR stunt and that it would make it easier for me to develop commercial activities.’ Moeijes went to work immediately. She decided to get a job outside of the funeral directing branche to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest. She now works as a taxi driver and works on developing SamSam further.
After 7 years, SamSam has been developed into an all-round player. In 2019, around 90 funerals were guided by coaches. Additionally, the organisation is active in advocacy and organises platform meetings. For funeral directors, a document was made in which all information about debt accumulation is gathered.
Moeijes lives off a minimal income, but does not regret her decisions for a moment. ‘I have a huge passion for this. When I was 8, I already imagined myself working as a nun in developing countries to help children. This work suits me. My great grandparents lived under appealing conditions. They had 13 children, 12 of which passed away. So really, I understand why I am so motivated to do this work!
Read more about SamSam Funeral coaching here
The funeral coaches at SamSam give advice and help prevent debt as much as possible. They help answer the following questions
- What can I do when there is no funeral insurance?
- Can I arrange matters around the funeral myself, to save money?
- Where can I get financial aid?
- What should I do when the deceased was in debt?
- What happens when there are no relatives to arrange the funeral?
They can also execute and send funeral cards, and request a quotation with funeral directors.