We are a non-profit organization and all members of Right2Education are volunteers. Together, we are working towards building a community and bridging the gap between outsiders and insiders.

Meet the team of 2016-2017

Nini

Internal Organization and Event Management

Nini Pieters: Internal organisation/Chair

When I became involved in Right2Education in January 2016, the initiative had just come into existence. Therefore, the first few months of the project were challenging, sometimes chaotic, but also incredibly enriching. All board members had different and changing positions, such that at times I was the event manager, at other times the student coordinator, and often it was a true team-effort. The thing we have shared and kept at all times within the board was the great passion for this project, and I still have just as much passion in the current position of chair/ internal organization.

It is incredible to see how since the start of Right2Education, support within and outside of AUC has increased steadily, and how fast the project has grown to what it is now. My enthusiasm for the different aspects of Right2Education has grown with every day, just like the project itself did. Through Right2Education, I have learned a lot in terms of organizing and closely working together with an amazing team. But beyond that, Right2Education also teaches me about the values of education, culture, friendship, and about the value of a truly diverse community. It is all these things taken together that make me incredibly grateful to be part of Right2Education.

Merel Kuijs: Finance and acquisitions

Without our sponsors’ generous support, Right2Education would not have been able to provide over a hundred students with free language lessons. As treasurer and head of acquisitions, I am responsible for the foundation’s finances, attracting sponsors and maintaining sponsor relations. However, during my time as a board member, I have learned much more than budgeting and money management. Right2Education’s students and my fellow board members have taught me compassion, patience and perseverance.

Right2Education is a young, vibrant organization. It is constantly evolving, demanding flexibility and an open mind. Every day, I try to incorporate these values into my work. However, I need to be strict sometimes. The board is buzzing with ideas, some of which pose a challenge to its treasurer. Therefore, I am always on the lookout for new sponsors, new possibilities and new opportunities.

Merel

Acquisitions

Angie

Student Coordinator

Angie Wehrli: Student Coordinator

“I decided to join Right to Education after seeing all of the wonderful things that this group of students, my peers, were accomplishing. We not only get to contribute to refugee integration into the Netherlands, we are also welcoming them into our AUC community and experiencing a rewarding cultural exchange. So far, it has been an absolute pleasure! The motivation and abilities of the team, students and all those involved in Right to Education have completely surpassed my expectations. So much has been achieved since its creation in January, and I’m very excited to contribute to the growth and evolvement of this program.

My role is the Student Coordinator, which means that I am in contact with the students and teachers frequently. I am responsible for keeping updated on personal matters, making sure that the students are integrating well into their classes, that they feel that they are able to succeed in Dutch and are equipped with the tools to do so.”

Tamara Happé: Teacher/Academic coordinator

“I started to get involved in this project around December, when I became one of the teachers for the student-led Dutch classes. I fell in love with the teaching, the students, and the project itself. Now, besides continuing the teaching, I am also the Teacher and Academic coordinator, which means I have to make sure all the materials are ready for each class, and all the teachers are provided with the right information. I am constantly evaluating new ways of teaching and try to improve the program every single day.

The aim of this project is that the students learn Dutch, but I learned a lot as well. How to organize a lesson and course, how to teach Dutch, and I have learnt how to enjoy the guest students’ motivation and eagerness . Most of all, I have learnt to appreciate the privilege to have access to education, and how lucky I am to be part of this project. I have had many great experiences, from getting Dutch compliments from my students, to studying together, to laughing about culture differences, and singing dutch songs. I am still having amazing experiences every day, and expect many more in the future, and I am looking forward to them already.”

Tamara

Teacher Coordinator

Anouk

External Communication

Anouk Ide: External Communication

“When I first heard about Right2Education, I was immediately struck by the value and beauty of this project and I decided to become part of the team. Helping people go to university again and learn the Dutch language truly means a lot to me.

Within the board, I am in charge of the external communication, which means that I am in contact with external partners such as refugee organizations and the municipality of Amsterdam. Although my tasks mostly take place behind the scenes, the events and student environment enable me to really get to know our guest-students, for which I’m incredibly grateful. They showed me how thankful I should be for having access to education, and I’ve learnt more about cultures, values and friendships than ever before. I will honestly never forget those moments that, when playing games, having dinner, or dancing traditional dances together, I see the smile on their face, making my smile even brighter than it already was. Hopefully, many more of these moments will follow.

Ellen Ackroyd: Public Relations

“I have to admit, when joining Right2Education, I had no idea what to expect. What could a group of students possibly do to help? Five months later and I never regret that day I first joined and met our first guest students. I keep learning from them and truly cherish the friendships that this project has enabled me to create. What I love most is trying out new things, such as Ramadan or cooking a Syrian dish, it’s so enriching.

And everyday, they surprise me with some new knowledge and new wisdom and never fail to make me laugh. And everyday, this makes me even more determined to fight off this prejudiced image society has of refugees because it could not be further away from reality. Reality is in the conversation, it’s in the dinners we share together, in the events we organize together, in the jokes we exchange. And honestly, it’s beautiful.”

Ellen

Public Relations

Mya

Buddies and Events

Mya Berger: Buddies and Events

“I first joined the organisation as a buddy. From that point on I got to meet the Right2Education students and board and became incredibly admirative of their work, their passion and their involvement. It first appeared as a small change, but what our organisation manages to do is truly impressive.

I decided I wanted to be a part of it, I decided that I wanted to bring as much as can to it. With that I realised that not only Right2Education helps the students to attain a certain level in Dutch, thus helping them to integrate the Dutch society, but also are part of a group. Because their environment of studies is AUC, most of our student get to be part of the school. We created the buddy system to integrate our students more thoroughly, we manage punctual events ,to enhance a feeling of community and stability, as well as a constant cultural exchange.”

Merlijn Kersten: Buddies and Events

“In January, I became a buddy for the Right to Education programme. Later, I began assisting the guest students in their Dutch classes, and now I’m working together with Mya on Buddy and Events. We organise events for, and together with, the buddies and the guest students. For instance, we went on a picnic, we visited the Anne Frankhuis, and we did a weekly event with Iftar during the Ramadan.

I think Right to Education has a really positive, hands-on outlook on the refugee ‘crisis’. In the past six months, this organisation, with help from both student and official AUC teachers, has taught Dutch to over a hundred students, at levels ranging from A1 to B1.1. Through the buddy system and the events we organised, the students became really part of the AUC student body, which I think makes this project unique. Thus I am happy to make a small contribution to this project.”

Merlijn

Buddies and Events

Meet the founders of R2E

Ellen Ackroyd

PR/Buddy System Coordinator

Nini Pieters

Student Coordinator/ Events

Merel Kuijs

Treasurer

Tamara Happé

Academic Coordinator

Andrea Haefner

External Communications

Tanushree Kaushal

Internal Communications

Lena Reim

Secretary

Els van Dam

Academic Coordinator

The Advisory Board of R2E

Dr Sennay Ghebreab – AUC Management Representative

Michael Vermeer – AUC Alumni

Loes Leatemia – Gastrvij Oost Representative

Prof. Dr. Halleh Ghorashi – VU Representative

Dr. Diederik van Werven – AUC Faculty Representative