Lloyd Hofwijks, founder of the foundation 'Hart van Hoop' (Heart of Hope)
Loneliness is not always with you, it comes and goes. Even when you are surrounded with many people, like within the family I grew up in. In Paramaribo we had eight children at home. And despite the big family I often felt alone. When my mother was thirty-six she died due to a pregnancy poisoning. And, with her, the connecting force within our family also disappeared. Everyone was leading their own life from then on. There was little love and a lot of argument. I took these experiences with me from Surinam to the Netherlands in 1973 as an 11-year-old boy and they were part of me for the rest of my life. They shaped me and were decisive for many choices I made. Especially when I could no longer carry out my work as a cook due to circumstances. Due to not working, my circle of friends became smaller and smaller. I often sat alone at home and felt lonely. I was thrown back in time. I was lonely again. Everyone was busy with his own things and did not worry about me. Many people in that situation are not fortunate enough to be able to make a choice. I did have that luck. Was I going to stay alone or get up and do something about it? I gathered all my courage and chose the last...
My name is Lloyd Hofwijks and in 2016 I started the foundation 'Hart van Hoop' (Heart of Hope), in Drachten. With my foundation I want to improve the mutual contact between people. The foundation stands for meeting and connecting with each other. My mission is to achieve more solidarity and to cooperate with other organisations that have the same objective. We are there for everyone, regardless of people their ethnic background or religion. In order to realise my mission, I organise activities that bring people together. Through ‘Maatschappelijk Onderneming Smallingerland’ (Social Entrepreneurship Smallingerland) I rent spaces at various locations where I can organise my activities. For example, I organise brunches and dinners during the holidays, a time when some people end up in a black hole because they do not have anyone. Around 80 to 90 people will come to the Christmas dinner and I will get help from volunteers. The Albert Heijn sponsors all the groceries and the local butcher donates the meat. The dinner attracts people from all walks of life; young, old, poor and rich. People love it, they enjoy it. I am now trying to set up a weekly meal at the Salvation Army. I noticed that people want to have a place where they can eat together. It is not even about having it financially difficult, but it is about being alone. The foundation wants to be there for everyone. My vision for the future: reducing loneliness by connecting people with each other. First I want to do it right in Drachten, from there I want to tackle the rest of the Netherlands.
|24 May 2019 3.16 p.m.