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  • Foto van schrijverBarbara

DCF Activities October 2022

Dear DCF friends,

Thank you very much for taking the time to read our newsletter. This is a very special edition; we hope you enjoy reading it!

¡FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! – Danielle Children’s Fund 20 years

DCF is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Hence, in this newsletter and together with the children, families and sponsors of DCF we would like to take a look back at the events of recent years.

1997 - The beginning of an idea Nicoline van Egmond and Helma van der Hoeven volunteered in Romania for a few weeks, where they witnessed the extreme poverty, many people lived in: children growing up without sufficient warmth, clothing and food. This experience caused them to reflect deeply. In 2001, Helma quit her job in the stock market in London and traveled to Nepal. Towards the end of the year, Nicoline and Helma, together with Simon Koert, officially registered the Daniëlle Children's Fund in the Netherlands. Alex Vukajlovich soon became a member and Engel van der Hoeven became an honorary member.

D.R. (young person of 15 years) “DCF has supported me in all my difficulties, they have never judged me for what happened in my life. They are always there, even though everything I have experienced is very tiring and difficult.”

In 2002, together with Choodamani Poudel and Rajan Rai, they set up a Nepalese foundation, which focuses on access to rehabilitation and education for disabled children. Over time, the foundation focused more on children living in poverty. Education remains a central theme. DCF Ecuador

How wonderful is life? In the Himalayas, Helma meets Javier Herrera from Ecuador. He convinces her of the beauty of the Andes mountains and invites her to climb the mountains in Ecuador together. After a lot of altitude sickness, plans were made for the creation of DCF Ecuador. In 2004, the foundation obtains legal status and Javier becomes a member.

To begin with, the DCF philosophy was based on three pillars: Hope, Faith and Love (1 Corinthians 13). Eventually, DCF immerses itself in system therapy, children's rights and collaborative and dialogical practices. The team becomes more aware of how the challenges children and families face, are not black and white but on the contrary, are very complex.

K.R. (young person of 16 years) “As my process began, the team made me feel comfortable so I could show my emotions. We talked about what had happened to me and they gave me options and I liked that because I felt my voice had value and weight. Before that, it was bad not to be heard and to be in danger.”


In 2004, with great enthusiasm DCF opened a shelter for children in crisis situations. But when the children cried for their mother at night, doubts begin to arise. Are we on the right track? An earlier conversation with a mother in Nepal also lingers in the team’s memory. She had once given her child up for adoption and had said that she felt so deeply alone and therefore unable to offer her child what it needed: “If I had had someone at that time who listened to me and supported me, I would never have given my child away…”.

DCF begins an important transformation process, where they begin to doubt institutional care for children. Ideas were born to start programs that assist parents and focus on supporting and keeping families together. Two volunteers play a key role in this process: Ine Martens and Barbara van der Heiden, who made an important contribution with their hearts and work experience. Nicoline takes the role of chairman over time. Her creativity gives the foundation new energy. Alex Vukjalovich contributes with his down to earth and critical view of things.

Mother of 3 children “It was a totally different experience; One that I had never had before: the fact that people wanted to help not only me, but also my family temporarily. I see DCF as a safe haven to let off some steam, to share with other people going through difficult situations. You feel supported. Really, it was a breath of fresh air; you arrive at the center and there is an incredible calm.”

From 2013 onwards, DCF decided to focus on foster care in order to combat institutionalization. The foster care methodology was developed in collaboration with the government and Buckner Peru. DCF runs the program in Ambato. Subsequently, they begin providing training and technical advice during the implementation of a pilot program of foster care in the provinces of Guayas and Ibarra. Furthermore, Diego Poma takes on the leadership of DCF with the goal of creating different realities together with the children, young people and their families.

2018 - NOW

Close cooperation between DCF and the Ecuadorian government continues. DCF is invited to contribute ideas and work on the implementation of new programs at national level. Practical laws and methodologies are being developed. Ecuador now has various forms of alternative Family and Community Based Care available, such as family support, kinship and foster care.

J.P. (boy 9 years) "I enjoyed being with you, because besides playing, you talked and helped my mother so that we could leave my grandfather's house, who hurt her a lot (...). You let us participate in many things. When my mother said we were going to see you, I was always ready to go, right away

Likewise, DCF along with UNICEF and other organizations are creating a network to promote dialogue and collaboration on child protection. Hence, they start developing the National Strategy for De-institutionalization of children.

Meanwhile, due to the political and economic situation in their country, many people from Venezuela have been forced to migrate. Among them are many unaccompanied young people. Thus, a Human Mobility program is created in collaboration with UNICEF. Professional teams provide care to the migrant youth and families in Casa de Paso and Casa de Autonomía, while other family support services continue as usual.

Maria Fernanda Moreno – UNICEF Working with DCF Ecuador has been a learning experience during a long journey of several years in which important changes have been achieved in Ecuadorian political policy regarding children and young people who are temporarily unable to live with their families.

From 2010 until now, the DCF team has guided more than 10,000 people in therapeutic and social processes. Children, young people and their families in risky situations are the ones who use our services. Additionally, our training and consultancy activities indirectly reached 45,000 people.


Looking back on the past 20 years, we can only say that we feel very grateful for everything that we have been able to experience and learn together with the children, young people and families during this period. Following Hope, Faith and Love, so many things have become and still are possible!

Chris Purslow – Sponsor

I first met Helma and Javier in 2003 during a charity expedition led by Javier. The team immediately felt welcome, not only as customers, but also as friends. DCF was newly established and I wanted to support their work and was introduced to 8-year-old Christian who had a dream of becoming a doctor. The journey hasn't always been easy, but DCF was there when the going got tough and Christian is now a fully qualified doctor doing an amazing job at a health center in the country.

DCF impresses me with their integrity, progressiveness, adaptability and above all personal warmth. Congratulations on 20 years of DCF and I look forward to living with you for many more years to come!

Love and best wishes from the UK

We are very grateful to all sponsors and donors for their great support over the past 20 years. Our work is only possible because of your faith and trust that things can be done differently. We thank you very much for that! Warm regards, Alex, Barbara, Nicoline and Helma - Daniëlle Children's Fund

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