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Leo says goodbye to the board of Zorg van de Zaak Foundation
14 August 2020

Leo says goodbye to the board of Zorg van de Zaak Foundation

Leo van Veen reflects on a beautiful time in which a lot was achieved, and new chances are appearing at the moment. ‘Zorg van de Zaak Network possesses a great deal of professional knowledge, and there are opportunities all around the world to put it to use.’

Leo remembers it well. He left a conference room late one evening in Utrecht after a long meeting with the Foundation. On the way to his car, the inevitable thought came up: ‘What am I doing, being out this late?’. After all, he could have been doing something else that night. Leo realized that participating in the work of the Foundation is more than an evening’s congregating.

Going all-in

‘It’s an honour to work for the Foundation, of course.’ Yet you only start making a difference when you really want to. ‘It has to come from within.’ Leo always noticed this drive in the cooperation with partner organisations. One example is the way in which Laurie Ijzermans commits to the guiding of traumatized children in Bolivia. Pauline Jansen and Leo met her in a restaurant in Den Bosch. They had read the project plans of Casa d’Alegria and the efforts to start up this organisation through crowdfunding had not yielded enough. As a result, the Foundation was in the picture as the main donor. ‘Laurie’s enthusiasm and the energy with which she talked about her work impressed us,’ Says Leo. ‘When we then both got a work of art which was made by the children, her motivation rubbed off on us as well’.

‘In Gambia, people sometimes forget the promises they made the previous day’

Contently, Leo reflects on a board period in which he spent many evenings and weekends speaking to partner organisations of the Foundation. He actively committed to the foundation ‘Care for Natural’, which among other things grows highly nutritious crops. Together with his co-worker Ron Brandes, he also attended to the shipping of medical instruments from the Netherlands to Gambia. But the real basis was his cooperation with Claudette Krook, the driving force behind the project in Gambia. ‘Claudette really sought out feedback on her plans’. In Care for Natural’s work, success and setbacks alternated at a rapid pace during the last two years. The organisation gains experience quickly, and Claudette’s motivation is immense. ‘It’s not easy to keep looking at the horizon in Gambia,’ Leo says. ‘People sometimes forget what they promised the previous day’.

Exchange of expertise

Leo finds that efforts to exchange expertise between Zorg van de Zaak Network and partners of the Foundation have not yielded much so far. ‘Of course, Zorg van de Zaak is a commercial business. You need to be billable. However, I know many colleagues will be interested in helping the Foundation or advising a partner.

We already have care leave in the Netherlands. Perhaps a similar construction can be established together with HR for this type of cooperation, and a personal budget could be offered when a staff member is motivated to help the Foundation.’

A new board

The new board members are hard at work on taking on Leo’s work. Saskia Oversluizen will be supporting the cooperation with Casa d’Alegria. Suus Theuws will do the same for Care for Natural and Frans Werter will take on the neighbourhood project Kanaleneiland in Utrecht.

We are grateful to Leo for his commitment!

Leo van Veen:

‘In Gambia and Bolivia, it’s the entrepreneurial Dutch who pull the wagon and who, in doing so, fulfil both their own dream as those of the people in need of help. It’s wonderful to see that Dutch people use their organisational talents to achieve social or societal goals. We tend to define “success”. A project is only deemed successful if it is realized within the allotted time and within the budget, results or profit planned ahead of time. In the world of development cooperation this definition it too narrow. In my opinion, the projects of the Foundation are successful if we manage to increase self-sustainability, the quality of life and health, to fight poverty and hunger and to respect the relations with other people and to really delve into that. The Foundation’s success and that of the projects we support is not measurable and it doesn’t need to be. Well-being, happiness and health cannot be expressed in money.’