‘Samen voor Eindhoven’ is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The foundation brings business and social organizations together. As a result, thousands of employees of ASML, Philips, and smaller companies, among others, dedicate themselves to local charities.
Ten years ago, there was a growing need for volunteer support at social organizations in the Brainport region. Social entrepreneur Esther Hofstede saw an opportunity to connect business and non-profit organizations.
For a connected society
“We acted together for a connected society and for people who are struggling,” said Hofstede, who reveals that recently the demand for help has been increasing. “Together with our partners, for example, we have had for some time a program supporting financial worries. That program is getting more attention now. We make sure that the people from companies that are relatively well off come out of their bubble for the people who are struggling. We still have the coats collection drive for people who are in dire need.”
Not only are others being helped, but the volunteers themselves are also changing, Hofstede sees in recent years. “People come more into contact with homeless people. This causes people to take a different attitude toward vulnerable people. In the past, volunteers might have taken a bow for that group; now they have more understanding and empathy. The line between them is decreasing.”
Hofstede believes that’s important. She talks of her own experience. “I started this ten years ago alone in an attic room when my sister was struggling with drug addiction. I continued to help her anyway. And what I didn’t see at the time, maybe because I was young or because it was too close, is how important it is to accept others as they are. With an open mind and heart,” said Hofstede.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta. She also gives online INBURGERING classes.