Meetup #22: Happy Times

Gisele Azad and Emma van Wolferen introduced us to the mission and work of De Vrolijkheid; empowering young people in azc’s through creating art and music together. They inspired the audience by sharing the (wide!) range of projects that De Vrolijkheid has done, from allowing kids to design clothes from outer space, to recording childhood songs from all over the world. For De Vrolijkheid it is highly important that their participants stop feeling like a refugee; as they put it clearly: being a refugee is a situation, not an identity. After their talk we could safely say that everyone was on board with De Vrolijkheid and their work!

But of course, a meetup is always an opportunity to build upon and improve what is already there. De Vrolijkheid struggles with reaching people outside of the bigger cities; in particular, the people who live close to azc’s throughout the country. Whether due to prejudices or unfamiliarity, locals are usually less involved in De Vrolijkheid’s projects. Something they would love to change to improve integration on both sides.

Hence the question; how can De Vrolijkheid reach more people outside the bigger cities? All our six teams got to work in a half hour brainstorm pressure cooker. Again, the room was vibrant with brainpower. The pitches all shared a similar feat: festivals! Perhaps due to our audience’s desires after the lockdown year, but probably because De Vrolijkheid has such a great potential culturally and artistically.

However, there was one team that mentioned an approach of which Gisele said it was really something they could start with tomorrow: making use of all the empty shops that are currently doing nothing in small towns and use these for pop-up exhibitions and galleries. Therefore Team Green got away with the prize: cards designed by participants of De Vrolijkheid. Congratulations to Babs van Gisbergen, Robert-Jan Glas, Nienke Bassle, Milan Hartsuiker, Taco Ruighaver, Merel Meijvogel, Marieke Boel and Laura Mentink!

If you would like to get in touch with De Vrolijkheid to help them with their mission, don’t hesitate and get in touch with us via Joukje@thepresent.world

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