“On Valentines Day, I received my first Valentines Day card. I was 14 years old.” It read:
I really like you. Please do not tell our classmates.
P.S. Greetings to your mom.”
The following day, Jojanneke van den Bosch’s mother died of lung cancer. Her father passed away five months before. She and her sister were unable to find a foster family because her sister was 18 years old. Fighting for their home because they were not on the lease, they had to sell nearly all of their belongings. It was as if they were walking a tightrope and hoping to make it to the other side without falling off.
In deciding to move to a new location and to start anew, she moved to Delft. There, she went to a new school and made new friends. Interestingly enough, one of her newly-made friends invited Jojanneke over to her house. When her friend’s family dropped her off home, they saw her living conditions and decided to help.
This family that was right there, taught her three important things in philanthropy, especially for orphans living in the Western World. They noticed her and her struggles, and revealed what was being hidden so well. They helped her facilitate a short-term solution and empowered her and showed her how to do things for herself wisely. They were her cheerleaders.
“Are you the one watching the orphan walk the tightrope way up high, or are on the ground holding the safety net?” Van den Bosch asks. We all can make the lives of those easier by simply just doing these three things.