20% of profits go to charity
Each product/design is linked to a specific charity. To efficiently donate a substantial amount of money I will make the donations on two specific dates each year. I will also update the financial transparency graphs so you can follow our collective progression.
September 25th – my mom’s birthday
March 14th – tribute to my mom passing away
My mom's Chinese horoscope is a tiger, and ever since she passed away, I have been obsessed with tigers.
Profits of the tiger design go to Panthera. They are the only organization in the world fully devoted to the conservation of 40 wild cat species and their habitats.
UNHCR Yemen Food Crisis
Yemen is gripped by the world’s worst, entirely man-made, humanitarian crisis. In 2015, a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia started to bomb the country of Yemen. Their aim was to remove power from a group of people called the Houthi rebels (anti-government fighters) and reinstate the government. The government now remains in exile and the Houthi rebels still control large areas which has led to this horrible humanitarian crisis. Three million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished and risk dying of hunger.
UNHCR provides humanitarian relief and protection across Yemen to hundreds of thousands of displaced people. They deliver cash and emergency supplies, provide families with shelter and keep them safe from harm.
The highest achievement in my life was acquiring a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the KU Leuven. I could not have done this, if not all the opportunities were given to me.
People often forget that I am a child of two refugees that fled from the Vietnam War. My mom was ‘brought over by plane’ as the new communist regime literally took over her home, and my dad was a ‘boat refugee’. My mom was lucky to have sister that was an au pair in Belgium at the time, who got help of her boss for the repatriation of her whole family.
My dad unfortunately, similar to the current boat refugees, fled from his home town in a small boat with other people, hoping to be picked up by large commercial ships in international waters. The small boat was rescued by a container ship and the refugees were brought to Singapore, but not without casualties as many people died due to drowning and infections. Here, he worked illegally to pick up trash for awhile, and since he was still underaged (17yo) he was eligible for a project that placed underaged Vietnamese refugees in Belgian foster families.
Both my parents arrived in Belgium without being pre-labelled lazy, opportunistic, stealing local jobs, women-demeaning, etc, since they were the first generation of ‘their kind’ to arrive in Belgium. Nevertheless, they had their fair share of racist bullying. Despite this, they worked double-triple jobs to finally achieve the ‘Belgian middle class dream’, so they could ensure that their children never had to face the roadblocks in life they had encountered.
Assessing the situation now, 30 years later, the attitude towards refugees has spiralled negatively, resulting in more roadblocks and less opportunities for people in the same position as my parents 30 years ago.
Therefore I dedicate the charity donations of this card to Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. They help refugees in Belgium with schooling, reintegration and security, so parents of Syrian, Ethiopian, etc versions of me can equally reach for the stars in their future, live their best life and provide a better life for their progeny.
SOS Kinderdorpen Belgium
Children who grow up without a loving home run a greater risk of violence, neglect and poverty. SOS Kinderdorpen Belgium is an NGO that strives to build a world where all children find a place where they feel safe, secure and accepted. SOS Kinderdorpen Belgium is part of the international NGO: SOS-Kinderdorf International.
Their projects include the reinforcement of more vulnerable families, creating new families through guidance counselors or professional foster parenting, helping teens with their independence, enforcing and following up children's rights, etc. In short: SOS Kinderdorpen Belgium creates families, in all shapes and sizes.
Stichting tegen Kanker
The longer we live, the more we are acquainted with this lil b*, called cancer.
My mom passed away from brain cancer, while my mother-in-law succumbed to leukemia (blood cancer). I have close friends who themselves or their families have been a victim of thyroid cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, etc., and I am sure that I am not the only one in this position.
This design was made when my mother-in-law, my second mother, passed away in September 2020. It was a reminder to me that it is indeed not what we have that matters, but who we have around us c:
Dokters van de Wereld
‘Dokters van de Wereld’ is part of the international ‘Médecins du Monde’ network. As an independent medical NGO, they strive for the universal right for health, whether it is in Belgium or abroad, with the main focus on care for vulnerable groups e.g. the homeless, isolated groups, refugees, etc. The 3 fundamental pillars of their missions are (1) CARE: they provide care to people who otherwise would not have access to it. (2) GUIDANCE: they actively guide them towards sustainable change. (3) WITNESS: They are pro-active in a way that they follow-up on violations of human rights and other abuses. They also contact local, regional and (inter)national authorities with figures and facts from the field.
A big plus for me is also that they are uber transparent about their finances.
In 2020, we raised 114€ for Dokters van de Wereld
Coral frame purchase
This design is made in collaboration with Turtlee green, a plastic-free web shop that continuously supports a turtle rehab center. The charity profits of this design will be used to purchase coral frame(s) of Marine Savers, which will be placed by Reefscapers in the Maldives.
Coral provides homes for more than 25% of all marine life. Due to global warming and plastic pollution, coral becomes bleached via the detachment of their colorful zooxanthellea, with whom they have a symbiotic relationship. Without this symbiosis, the coral bleaches and dies. The purchased coral frame allows a ‘transplant’ of coral to rejuvenate and restore the Maldivian reef. These frames are also made locally and provide employment for local people!
As many of you know, cancer remains a personal subject for me. While anti-cancer treatment improves chances of recovery, it is often accompanied by all kinds of side effects including physical pain and psychological discomfort for both patients and their surrounding loved ones. Therefore, this nostalgic design of my 90s childhood will be linked to the VZW Kinderkankerfonds charity. VZW Kinderkankerfonds gives financial and psychological support to children with cancer and their families.
"Helping young people on their way to adulthood"
Therapeuten voor jongeren (TEJO) offers therapeutic assistance in Flanders to adolescents. This assistance can be short-term, immediate and anonymous, and is free of charge. The services are provided by professional therapists and on a voluntary basis.
The main objective of the therapy is to 'unblock' and to give the adolescents their power back. In this way TEJO meets urgent requests for help, prevents escalation of the issues and thus contributes to a solution for the long waiting lists. TEJO also offers a 'pedagogical place' where adolescents can be listened to in peace.
Kom op tegen kanker
In 2020 came in contact with Annelies. She was diagnosed that year with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer with limited treatments. The ray of sunshine that she is, she decided to use her energy to start several projects to gather money for Kom op tegen Kanker.
Having lost two mothers of cancer, the disease hits close to home. We therefore decided to design a card together to raise more money for Kom op tegen Kanker. For this, I designed a card with her favorite flower, the dahlia, together with a cherished quote.
Kom op tegen Kanker is an NGO that provides funds for the development of new cancer therapies and psychological, social and financial support for patients.
Boven de Wolken
For this collaboration with Somerwoorden, the Flemish Rupi Kaur, I made two designs for two of her intricate poems.
Somerwoorden chose to donate the 20% of the profits to Boven de Wolken. This charity supports parents who will only have limited time after the delivery of their child. They do this by providing a photoshoot of the brief family moment, to later cherish forever and ever. Learning to live with the loss of your baby takes a lot of time. It is a period with a rollercoaster of feelings. Collapse, crying a lot, daring to laugh again, wanting to do things for and with them and making memories. Boven de Wolken captures memories for these parents. With this, they additionally create a community wherein continuous support is shared between the parents and the organizers.
“Gewoon leven” is translated as “Just living”. This organization is led by Virginie Van Mol, a grief and loss counsellor.
Gewoon leven is a place where people with young dementia and their caregivers can experience activities together in a quiet home environment, e.g. everyday activities like gardening and cooking meals. It also allows caregivers to informally come together, connect with others, exchange experiences and find peace. The financial donation will create more activity opportunities for people with young dementia and their caretakers. On the long term Gewoon Leven can hire an internal caretaker to aid families where possible.
As someone who has experienced some significant losses, I wish I turned to a grief or loss counsellor earlier in my life. After reading some self-help solutions over the years, I would like to share some that I still value a lot today:
- Dutch book: Manu Keirse – Helpen bij verlies en verdriet
- The poems of @somerwoorden