Farewell Jeroen, farewell Niko,
After the planned 5 years, and one extra for good measure, the time has come for both of you to step down from the Vivir Juntos board.
A trip back in memory lane. Six years ago. I was still living in Leiden and had my plans to go to Nicaragua to help set up a community home for disabled adults. I was looking for support to make those plans more realistic, in particular through people who wanted to become a board member of a foundation based in the Netherlands to raise money to help me implement this venture in Nicaragua. And you both agreed to head up the new foundation Vivir Juntos! You both had a connection with Nicaragua; you knew about the difficult economic situation there and most of all, you wanted to contribute to the dream.
One thing led to another. We had a few meetings to determine the purpose and name of the foundation. We found Michiel and Annelies willing to help with setting up the website, posting and managing Facebook and publishing blogs and newsletters. You helped to look for a third candidate-board member and we found Diana. The Foundation was legally established. And Alex came our way to help with fundraising.
In October 2015 I traveled to Juigalpa, Nicaragua to start the work there. The first step was to set up a Foundation here. Soon the Ruach Foundation was established and legally recognized with a clear purpose. The Nicaraguan board members of the Ruach Foundation were enthusiastic at first, but over time, the commitment and level of activity faltered somewhat, due to the hard social and political situation, later followed by the COVID-pandemic. But nonetheless: earlier this year we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Fundación. And we will continue within our limitations to seek the stabilization and expansion of our work.
Your efforts these years have been of immense importance to the Fundación Ruach. You managed to create a network of supporters in the Netherlands and donations came in. Without your commitment, the money necessary to function would not have been raised annually. Your efforts also gave me the moral support to continue here, with all the ups and downs. And you were a soundboard when I raised my concerns, and through the feedback we found better solutions. That teamwork gave me energy!
I am grateful that you have been able to give our housemates a good home and that you have helped members of the activities club to discover their talents, and helped in raising awareness that people with intellectual disabilities are more valued as members of our society.
I am so pleased that new people are ready to take over from you, so that you can leave the ship with peace of mind and confidence.
My words of thanks are nothing compared to what you have given. Of course also on behalf of all the beneficiaries of Fundación Ruach: MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS! As a meagre token of appreciation and a memory of this Ruach period, herewith a book about Adam, the experience of a man in a community house. I of course hope that a plan to visit us in Juigalpa stays on your wish lists!
Un abrazo fraternal,