The Move Forward coaches are giving dance, basketball and rap workshops in shelters and refugee camps all over the Netherlands. In 2016 we started a collaboration with a well-known non-profit organization Stichting Het Vergeten Kind. Since then we have been able to progress by giving more than 300 workshops a year all over the country. Most of the teenagers we reach out to are growing up without a home and frequently without parents. Our coaches will do anything to boost their confidence to get them back on track.
In the summer of 2015 we launched our full program in Rotterdam-Zuid, an area known for its low-income households and high crime rate. We selected teenagers with the help of local youth workers, teachers, social workers, care centers, the food bank, cultural organizations and sports coaches. Our goal was reaching out to teenagers without an opportunity to take part in a fun and uplifting activity during their summer vacation. Every day we started with a healthy lunch before moving on to the training sessions. We had room for 100 participants; in the end 89 teenagers took part. Dutch children compared to their Haitian counterparts have many more choices when it comes to participating in activities and there are generally more things going on in their lives. So whereas in Haiti almost everyone showed up at our program every day, in Rotterdam-Zuid we had to allow participants to absent themselves from the program.
The teenagers gave our program an average mark of 8.5 out of 10. They remarked that our program consisted of activities which they enjoyed doing and they appreciated the personal approach of our coaches and the way they were accepted and motivated by everyone. An added bonus was the fact that the project enabled them to make new friends.
SKVR, basketball club RZ and coach Alpha Sow of Basketball Winterleague were our partners in Rotterdam-Zuid.