I came to Tanzania when I was seven years old, grew up right here on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and was raised in this beautiful country as a Missionary Kid. For 10 years I called Tanzania my home as it was physically my address and for many years after that I called Tanzania my home, as this was where my heart was. When I moved back to The Netherlands to pursue my university education and later work, I travelled several times back to various African countries visiting and volunteering. These journeys continued to pull me back to Africa.  

I served on international Christian ships for 4 ½ years and I always asked myself the question, where is it that God wants me to serve and live. I knew it was somewhere in the developing world and eventually came to the conclusion that my heart was in Africa and that it was there where I wanted to plant my roots. I asked God one question, why is it that I want to go back to East Africa, is it because I had such a good childhood and I want to go back to that. Or did I grow up in Tanzania, so that one day I could go back there? I finally came to the conclusion, that I was not chasing my childhood, but that East Africa was my future and God had been preparing me for that.

Often I was wondering how I could help the orphans, having a heart for those kids that didn’t have much in their lives and also not much hope for the future. I researched and gathered more and more knowledge about girls in various forms of slavery and what slavery does to them and my heart grew towards helping them. My wisdom grew in knowing who I am and what I am good at and that one day I could help start up and run an institute that would help such girls and give them hope in the future.

I believe in working with others where we each bring in separate skills and knowledge; It is the ‘working together’ that makes things work better and efficient. People often focus on what they can’t, I believe in looking at what one can!

At this point, when looking into my moving back to East Africa, is when I met Simon; He too was serving on the ships and would be returning to East Africa to help widows, teenage mums and others less privileged through education. We saw our backgrounds, our gifts, our visions merge into one, as if we were partners that were meant to be together. It was not us that saw the other, it was God that brought us face to face at the right timing, in which together we could learn, grow and mold the vision in what we both believe is God’s plan for us. 

I am excited as we work on this project of building a school for girls in which they are to be provided with education, with a hope and chance to change their lives onto a new course. Where they were a teenage mum with no hope but only to work in her garden for the rest in her life, or a young girl stuck into a marriage with an old man, or a woman just out of slavery and so many others, all in the middle of getting educated and getting a chance in life!

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