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Road of Hope

With a Hopeful Heart

Dear friends and partners,

2023 was a year where we saw continuing war, families living apart, natural disasters, and new conflicts destroying dreams and lives. However, we saw people standing for one another, courage, resilience and also that simple gestures of love and companionship form a bond that not even the language barrier or cultural differences can break — the year started with our team supporting the members of our community who lost relatives in the terrible earthquake. What a heavy period for them.

At the beginning of the year, we already had three projects happening: our emotional support and empowerment for refugee women, the Breath of Hope project, and starting a new cycle of the Ondernemerschap (Entrepreneurship) project. The Collective Cultural Research continued interviewing Healthcare professionals and mothers from different cultures. 32 women from 4 nationalities and 9 professionals were heard. This year, we also started our Community workshop (Wijkwerkplaats) by de Kenniscentrum Ongelijkheid. The Sociology department of the Vrije Universiteit and part of our team is conducting an evaluation study. The central question is: How is experiential knowledge used in Breath of Hope? What are its effects on the participants? Which effective mechanisms play a role? What are the preconditions for realising the intended effects?

In February, we started 3 simultaneous Women’s Gatherings in 2 different neighbourhoods in Amsterdam New West. We also started assisting women living in the Galaxy schip. Our partnership with COA strengthened, and we could organise many activities for the statushouders and people still waiting for their process. They are waiting for their houses, and I am sure they will succeed in their integration, and we will be there for them! What a beautiful year for the Breath of Hope project. Through its activities, we could offer emotional support and personal development to more than 200 women from 17 nationalities. This year, we started supporting people coming from Latin America and China for the first time! 

Our four projects: Breath pf hope with “aftercare” workshops; Ondernemerschap graduating one more group of Intrepreuners, Collective Cultural Research at theater presentation and Together Project in one of its 3 weekly activities.

In the first semester, we had two groups for our Ondernemerschap course, one in English and one in Dutch teaching. We finished the project assisting people from 7 nationalities. Many of our participants are already registered with their KVK, daring to find clients and resources. We had 24 successful participants who got their diplomas and are planning to start their endeavours.

In July, we started our project again. Together, we welcomed Ukrainians to Amsterdam. In 2023, we focused our project on emotional support and helping Ukrainians find their own identity even while living abroad. Our activities for this season were focused on emotional support for kids and mothers, Community dinners, Painting and Creative textile with the purpose of emotional support through art, and Rootless, an art project of reflections about the past and future. Ukrainian integration will be more effective if we understand their need to find their own roots and identity. When they know who they are and are stable emotionally, there will be no fear of cultural assimilation.

We are now at the end of our two research projects: Collective Cultural Research and Wijkwerkplaats with Kenniscentrum Ongelijkheid. For the Collective Cultural Research, we chose a different way to present the findings, and it was through storytelling presented by 4 women from the community during the Week van de Gezonde en Kansrijke Start. At the premiere, we had many professionals. We are now working on an e-book which will be launched at the beginning of 2024, and further, a substantial report will be presented. For our Wijkwerkplaats we are now working on the final report, where the findings of our research will be shared in a report with recommendations for further use of experiential knowledge by our organisation and how it can possibly also be applied by other initiatives that come into contact with refugees.

Looking back, what a growth!
Four projects occurred simultaneously, Research and with the Cooperation of Samen aan de Slag. We finish the year with about 40 volunteers! It is only through the love and commitment of this beautiful team that we could provide assistance to around 700 people in 2023.

We would like to thank everyone who is part of Road of Hope’s community, our partners, donors and all of you who believe in our mission! We can only do our work due to your partnership and support! With a hopeful heart, we step to 2024, dreaming of reaching a new neighbourhood in Amsterdam and knowing that together we can achieve much more!

With kind regards,