ABOUT THE FOUNDER
From my first visit in 2011, Dominica has stolen my heart. I fell in love with her lush natural beauty, the friendly people, and the delicious food. My name is Marieke van Asten. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, and I moved to Dominica in 2016 and have made it my home.
I love being creative and working with children. I just wasn’t sure how exactly. Until I spoke with locals in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath and learned about the many challenges, children face here in Dominica. I envisioned the Child-Friendly Spaces that UNICEF had set up, to become permanent, a place where they feel seen and heard for who they are.
And from my own experience, I know creativity can be just that, an outlet, and a safe way to express yourself without using words. I developed and implemented The Foundation and its programs next to my full-time job, and I am excited about the progress realized.
My dream for the coming two years is to:
- Establish weekly programs for five groups of 10 children max
- Extend the program further stimulating the children’s creative skills that could benefit them throughout their lives, helping them to grow as people, face life’s difficulties, and ultimately help make the world around them a much better place to live
- Have our Breadfruit location to assure a safe and inviting space for the program, equipment, and materials
- Ensure enough, and environmentally-friendly equipment and material to develop and encourage creativity, social skills, and emotional resilience
- Offer a warm meal to all children participating
- Organize safe transportation for the children to and from the Breadfruit location
- Assure a long term and consistent program