Influencer Natalie Daal
Interview July 2018
Natalie Daal is a very active person in our society. As a mother of 3 (now grown up) girls, she is:
● the president of “Fundashon Kompa Nanzi” (of which “Leeinstituut Klimop” is better known);
● the director of the private school “De Rakkers (school op maat)”;
● very active in Kiwanis;
● actively involved in the project “ Leerorkest” that just finished their first year to teach some of our youth to play an instrument.
Why are you so involved in so many educational endeavors?
“As a girl of 5 I already knew and told my parents that I’m going to work with children when I grow up. In my journey in life, I have done different things and experienced so many things, but I am still convinced that my “inner voice” still wants me to play a crucial and defining role in transforming our educational system. So as for now this is my major focus. I am very interested in spirituality and my spiritual development, but I studied to become an electrician; studied residential work & social work; I have studied HRM; I am a teacher by profession; I have studied Management and was a quality manager/ coordinator of 4 after school, schools until 2013 whom were all financed by AMFO. Every time I tried to do something different, I was being gently reminded, to keep my focus on education”.
“We work with among other things on:
● small groups of children on an individual level;
● children and youth being bullied and prepare them to re-integrate in the regular school system;
● offer workshops to parents;
● pre-school childcare of children from 0 to 4 years old;
● we offer tutoring (extra lessons) to students that need to catch up, that we offer by a group of teachers, educational supervisors, remedial teachers and a social worker to help re-integrate the children in the regular school system and follow up in case of whatever problems the students might have at school while also involving the parents.”
“A lot of students have issues and come to us because of their inability to adjust to the educational system as it is being offered now. Their brains are wired differently, meaning that if you give them a laptop, you don’t need to explain a lot. The need to learn some basic skills like how to search on the internet, where and what to file and “off they go”. If you try to teach them with books, they have so many issues and struggle. I am of the opinion that our teachers on the island need to transform, because of the new era we are in now. Some teachers are understanding this now, but we still have a long way to go, to make the necessary adjustments.”
Where does this all started?
“I started with a pilot to offer tutoring (extra lesson, “Huiswerk Plus” and this was very successful as was proven by the results of the students and how other organizations have used our methods. We need to go back to the child, family and the school. We need to balance the regular curriculum with a more holistic curriculum, to make the education of these students more integrated, to level things out.
As part of this holistic education, we also use scent and candles to sooth the environment of the students to let them feel more balanced and at ease. We also offer them a healthy meal for a sharp affordable price.
All this is offered with a special sub-goal, and that is to offer these forms of education to those students in our society where their parents are unable to pay for them to go to a after school-program. We want to offer these students also access to what we offer. Although this at times has been challenging and still is challenging.”
What is the real challenge for you now?
“We have been subsided for 10 years by AMFO until the subsidy was stopped in 2013. We only had one year to adjust to this announcement. Via AMFO we had 90 children in Buena Vista. We worked with an adoption program where individuals could adopt a child and sponsor their clothes, books and what have you more. Our results were extremely well. We had a 100 % success rate of students graduating and going to the next grades at school. And we were very caring in our approach, because we make them feel loved, unconditionally, but we can be critical, there where we had to correct them in their inappropriate behaviors.
By doing this, we gained their confidence. We were making a difference.
And then AMFO stopped in 2013 and we had to release 90 children from Buena Vista and 20 workers. I had sleepless nights those days, it was a very painful experience, because we had to release different workers, including my brother who was also working for us. And of course “ the children” we knew, had nowhere to go after school. Those were hard times. It forced us to be creative and explore how we could go on with fewer funds. We kept the formula where we charge a reasonable monthly fee per student and still offer some, whom can’t afford it, education free of charge. We do get some funds from “Reda Soshal” and we are “on track” on complying with the requirements of the Inspectorate of Education. As we want the students to later on, re-integrate in the regular school system, we are forced to meet those standards anyway. We reached some sort of balance, but then as is life, we are of late dealing with some new challenges as we have students where the parents both lost their jobs and we are also dealing with increased operational costs. But in any case, we will continue to find ways and means to continue with what we are doing.”
Natalie, you are a very active member of the service club Kiwanis. Where did this come from?
It started as part of my desire to be helpful to our society some 14 years ago. Both my grandmother and mother had a big influence on me. Both were very social, caring and sharing with our neighbors. So, this also became my second nature. By participating in Kiwanis, I was able to contribute and share to the society through the projects Kiwanis organizes.
Like the project we have done in Soto, DeSavaan, Fuik where we offered a container of 2nd hand high quality clothes to the poor in these neighborhoods. The level of poverty we have met, made me realize how privileged my children were raised.
Tell us something about the “Leerorkest” initiative.
Natalie: “Tania Kross a famous opera singer living in Holland, started in the fall of 2017 with a local “Leerokest” initiative in Curaçao with students from the fifth and sixth grade of the primary school Maria Oxiliadora (Santa Maria). Tania visited this school, when she was growing up in Curaçao. Together with Tania’s father Roy Kross, both of us very active members of Kiwanis, sponsored by St. Bernard Fonds, Samenwerkende Fondsen and the Crime Fund of the Ministry of Justice for example to pay for the teachers, we adopted this project. The goal is, to offer to children music lessons during school hours and through that process, change their mindsets, behaviors and ultimately their school performance. The commitment to their instrument and to music helps to transform these students. Although we had a difficult first year, some children are more interested in playing baseball for example, we are very satisfied of the results we have reached this last year.
The students played on Brionplein on the 2nd of July on the “Dia di Bandera” where this year King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima were also present. We will now expand this initiative to another school this coming year and the goal is to offer this curriculum on all schools on the island. The instruments and books we got as a gift from a donor “Leerorkest” from Holland and the idea is to also start a so-called “Instrumentdepot Leerorkest” on Curaçao. This initiative is very well-known in Holland (www.leerorkest.nl/). The goal of “Instrumentendepot Leerorkest” is to create a rental-service of re-used and repaired instruments for “Leerorkesten on schools and similar social-educational initiatives to lower the threshold for those unable to buy expensive instruments”. By offering this to children where the parents lack the money to buy expensive instruments, it becomes easier from them to also practice at home on an instrument.”
More info: www.leerorkestcuracao.org
First performance of the Curaçao Leerorkest on the 2nd of July 2018.
Tania Kross about this first performance.
What are your plans for the future?
“I will stay my course and after being challenged, we are recovering and trying to deal with the never-ending challenges we are facing. I have been through a very difficult period, these past 7 years but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to collaborate with all those whom are like-minded, because I have an unbreakable faith in the Universe and the future of our island’s educational system’s ability to transform”.
The core-group of share2Uplift completely supports Natalie in her endeavors, and we will continue to explore ways and means to collaborate and jointly create value for our society.
For more information, contact Natalie Daal at E-mail: Leerinstituutklimop@gmail.com