A4C: Dutch Alternative Investments Industry and Embassies Join Forces in Charity Fund Raising for Children at A4C Spring Party in Amsterdam

The Dutch hedge fund industry may be dwarfed in size by its London and New York peers, but you wouldn’t haven’t realised that from the noise and enthusiasm generated at the Alternatives4Children (A4C) spring fund raising party at Amsterdam’s uber trendy ANDAZ Hotel on Thursday night.

Marc de Kloe, outgoing Head of the Global Alternatives and Funds team for ABN AMRO Private Banking and Co-founder of A4C said: “The financial industry has not had the best press in recent years, but tonight you’re seeing what can be achieved when people choose to put aside the relentless pursuit of investment returns and contribute their time and skills to supporting the greatest of all causes – ensuring that children from the poorest backgrounds worldwide get a decent chance in life.”

De Kloe’s comments were echoed by Joost Taverne of the Dutch Parliament and by the diplomatic representatives to the Netherlands of Peru and Ghana where A4C provides support to projects for children in some of the most impoverished communities of those countries.

Carlos Herrera, Ambassador of Peru to the Kingdom of the Netherlands said in a statement to the A4C event: We have the necessary human potential to achieve sustainable growth that offers opportunities to all and we believe, as do you, that education is a fundamental medium to reach this objective….We salute and thank in a special way all the efforts of the people and institutions that aim to contribute in this objective, as does Alternatives4Children with ‘Niños del Arco Iris’ or “Children of the Rainbow” in Urubamba, Cusco.”

By deciding to devote her life to the forgotten children of Peru, Dutch national Heléna van Engelen (66) began a new adventure. At the end of 2001 she travelled to the Holy Valley near Cusco, in Urubamba to build a centre where poverty-stricken children from the surrounding communities could live and learn. The essence of her mission is to give these children a home and a future.

Helena’s dream was to start a project for needy children. She was deeply impressed by the country’s stunning nature and magnificent history, but what moved her most was the extreme conditions in which the children in the slums lived. These beautiful, radiant children with their captivating eyes had absolutely nothing. No love, no attention, no home and no future. These children were just wandering aimlessly around.

Helena was touched on the one hand by their energy and, on the other, by their miserable hopeless situation. On returning to Amsterdam she made up her mind to start set up the project, sold her house and went back to Cusco. In the UNESCO World heritage place that the ancient Inca civilization deemed to be the “belly button of the world,” Helena started to look for the ideal location for realising her dream. Ultimately she found it, not that far from Cusco. In Urubamba she bought a plot of land of about three hectares, located on the mountainside in the Holy Valley. Fresh clear water flows from the mountaintops and all the different herbs of the Andes flourish there in abundance. In between the rocks there is a rich green blanket of trees and shrubs. It was in this idyllic setting that Helena started building her project, where children would be able to live, learn and blossom.

Across the South Atlantic from South America, the Kanaka School is an essential source of affordable, quality schooling – from day care to primary education to vocational training – for children, youths and adults in Ghana’s rural Ashanti region. The school was founded by Christiana Frimpong in 2003.

Following a visit to her hometown in Ghana and after working in Europe for 20 years, Christiana realised that because of their limited access to continuing education, local youths had few professional prospects and subsequently became disadvantaged adults. Consequently, with her own savings and donations from her Dutch employers, Christiana began building the Kanaka School on land she inherited in Domeabra, a small Ashanti village.

Doris Brese, Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of Ghana in The Hague, said in a speech at the A4C Spring Party: “Since 2013, Alternatives for Children has been supporting the Kanaka School in Ghana to deliver affordable vocational education to children who cannot afford university education and who might otherwise be unemployable. By providing skills development training for young people who have finished high school and who have no hope of continuing their education or of entering the job market owing to their limited training, Kanaka is giving these people a future to look forward to.”

A4C has raised €20,000 for its sponsored projects so far this year and is on course to raise its target €150,000 by year-end, depending on the level of contributions made at its flagship Gala Dinner in Amsterdam in October.