Who are we?

 

Casa de la Alegría is run almost exclusively by volunteers. The only people that receive a salary are the coordinator and teachers in Cochabamba, and their salary is of course based on local Bolivian standards. Apart from them, everyone works only for the satisfaction of helping the kids reach their true potential. This is true for both the people who occasionally help out the foundation, and the regular volunteers. If you would like to get to know them a bit better, just keep reading!   If you are interested in volunteering for our organization, click here for more information. We welcome all assistance, big and small, and we are very grateful to all our volunteers for everything they do!

Laurie - Oprichtster

Laurie – Founder

IMG_2821

Marina – Drama teacher

Walter

Walter – Drama teacher

Carolene

Carolene – Advisory board creative therapy

Sabine

Sabine – Advisory board creative therapy

Kaatje – Stagiaire

Kaatje – Advisory board creative therapy

UB 2016 portretten

Sita – Chamberlain

Karlijn

Karlijn – Creative therapy advisor

Miranda

Miranda – Coordinator in Cochabamba

Anne

Anne – Coordinator in the Netherlands

Leontine

Léontine – Coordinator in the Netherlands

Caroline - Website

Caroline – Webmaster

Kim

Kim – Editor

Marthe

Marthe – Editor

Carolien

Carolien – Editor

ton van den born in 2016 klein

Ton – Editor

bmd

Hilde – Editor

Lajla en Rob

Lajla – Handbook R&W and web shop

Lajla en Rob

Rob – Web shop

Erik

Erik – Coach

Nino

Nino – Online marketing specialist

Sanne

Sanne – Markting specialist BSA

Loulou

Loulou – Promoter

elsewietske

Elsewietske – Promoter

Valentijn

Valentijn – Ambassador

Laurie – Founder

Laurie_150px The founder of Casa de la Alegría, Laurie IJzerman, has led the organization from Cochabamba since 2012. Laurie earned a bachelor of Theatre in Education, and then went on to study Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. While doing a master’s degree in Latin America Studies she went to Cochabamba to research microcredit and social relations. After finishing this degree she felt inspired to work together with the young inhabitants of Cochabamba to help them create a better future for themselves. Her experience as a researcher, combined with her love of Latin America and the friendships with the people of Cochabamba were the foundation from which the idea for the Casa de la Alegría Foundation arose. On the board, Laurie is the driving force. Her strong connection with the target group and ideas about the ways in which the foundation can make a difference are what drive Casa de la Alegría every day. Back to top

Marina – Drama teacher

IMG_2821Marina Cabrera Argote is one of the drama teachers at Casa de la Alegría. She has a degree in psychology, and with her background in theater she can now combine both her passions in working with children, which is the most beautiful thing in the world for her. Back to top

Walter – Docente

WalterWalter Daniel Casazola Dávila is from Potosi, the most beautiful and highest altitude town in Latin America. Since 2008 he has been based in Cochabamba.
Since 2010, Walter has been working in the field of alternative education with children and youth in unstable situations, working on strengthening their skills and capacities. Alternative education, art, and playful pedagogy are the most important instruments he employs when working in these scenarios.
Why has Walter chosen to focus on working with children and adolescents?
For the simple reason that he likes to help strengthen and develop the personalities of children and teenagers. He first saw this as a goal in itself but with the passing of time he aims to take a step further. Walter’s goal is to help children and teenagers plant seeds for the future, helping them make the right calls in life.
Back to top

Carolene – Creative therapist in Bolivia

CaroleneCarolene Carolene Pessies graduated as a music therapist in 2013. She feels blessed that in 2015/2016 she was able to work as creative therapist at Casa de la Alegría in Cochabamba for a year. Besides having gained a fantastic life- and work experience during this period, she was able to share her knowledge with the local teachers, allowing them to learn from each other and support the children in a more effective manner. During her studies Carolene followed an internship at a juvenile detention center, where she gained experience with behavioral problematic, aggressive, and traumatized youth. For her bachelor theses, she spent three months in South Africa creating a strategy of musical tricks to assist and train teachers at the Wine Farms in Stellenbosch/Cape Town. She has also worked with children aged 2-5 with fetal alcohol syndrome – children whose development has been threatened by alcohol abuse in their environment and/or by the consequences of prenatal alcohol abuse. After graduating, Carolene worked at a school for deaf, and deaf and dumb children aged 6- 8 years old. There she led a group of thirteen students during afternoon day care. The children often couldn’t communicate through traditional language, had a behavioral dysfunction and/or learning hindrances and handicaps. Carolene now works as a music therapist in a large child and youth village in Germany and loves being involved as a board member for Casa de la Alegría. Back to top

Sabine – Advisory board creative therapy (dance)

Sabine Sabine Seijerlin is a dance/movement therapist who owns her own practice: ZieMij Amsterdam. Here she offers guidance, training and dance/movement therapy to children, adolescents and adults. ZieMij’s main goal is to help clients discover and apply their own strengths, that way problems will decrease and the client will able to live a healthier life. Sabine’s passion for dance/movement therapy started when she was working as a professional dancer.   In 2013 Sabine went to Bolivia to transfer her knowledge to the team in Bolivia, something she enjoyed immensely. When she got back she wanted to stay involved in the foundation, so together with Kaatje she started on our advisory board. Like Kaatje, Sabine is a certified Rock and Water instructor. Her experiences in Bolivia can be found on our blog page (in Dutch). Back to top

Kaatje – Advisory board creative therapy (theatre)

kaatje Kaatje Floren has been working as a Casa volunteer since December 2012. She received her degree in creative therapy in 2011, and now works in complex care. During her training as a creative therapist she did an internship at the children and youth section of the GGZ (the Dutch national umbrella organisation of mental health care and addiction), and worked as a counsellor at youth camps. ‘Children learn by playing, and all children are creative. As long as we don’t forget how to play, the ability to think creatively will make us strong, open-minded and proud.’   Her passion for working with children and theatre made Kaatje decide to go to Bolivia in October 2013, where for 2,5 months she taught drama classes with a therapeutic angle, and worked with the teachers and coordinator on a more therapeutically based program. Among other techniques, she used the Rock and Water program, in which she is a licenced instuctor. In her blog (in Dutch) on the website she tells us what is was like working with the children in beautiful Bolivia. After she returned to the Netherlands Kaatje wanted to stay in involved with the foundation, so she now uses her knowledge of creative therapy and her experience working in Bolivia as a member of our advisory board. Back to top

Sita – Penningmeester

UB 2016 portrettenSita Bhagwann was born in Suriname and studied Indology in Utrecht. Her hobbies include yoga and Indian classical song and dance, and she enjoys volunteering where her skills and interests can be put to good use. Since September 2016 Sita has been assisting Casa de la Alegría with its financial administration. Back to top

Karlijn – Creatice therapy advisor

Foto Karlijn 2From 2015 to 2017 Karlijn worked as a creative therapist at the ‘Casa’ in Bolivia. Whilst training teachers, observing classes, and coordinating the work undertaken in Cochabamba she lost her heart to the foundation. Now she’s helping us as a creative therapy advisor. “What I particularly enjoy seeing is how much the kids have grown. I sure am proud of the work we are doing!” Back to top

Miranda – Coordinator in Cochabamba

Miranda “Follow a dream of your heart. Then you’ll be energised. Then you’ll be inspired and motivated.”
 
As a young girl, Miranda Knoeff was already interested in development work. She felt the strong need to make a difference to those in need of change. After having studied Creative Therapy for a year, the drive to take a stand for vulnerable people led her to study Social Legal Services, where she sought to gain insight into the workings of the international playing-field and human rights.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, Miranda worked as a paralegal. This was, however, a profession which did not fully satisfy her as she sought more self-satisfaction. Therefore, in 2017, she decided to make a change to her current situation and to focus on more satisfying matters. When the vacancy appeared for Coordinator at the foundation Casa de la Alegría, she instantly chose to follow her desires and joined the foundation. After a month, she found herself on a plane to Cochabamba, where she puts her skills to good use as a coordinator, for benefit of the organisation, the kids, and the youth of Cochabamba.
Back to top

Anne – Coordinator in the Netherlands

Anne
Anne van der Velde is a Spanish translator for Casa de le Alegría and since the end of 2017 she also coordinates the translators and promotional activities in the Netherlands,
 
She first discovered the Spanish language and culture during her bachelor in Language and Communication at the University of Amsterdam, and fell in love instantly. Studying in Spain for 6 months only made her more enthusiastic. Her passion for for the dynamic in communication in different cultures made her decide to pursue a master’s in Intercultural Communication – with a specialization in Spanish. During her master’s she did an internship in Chile, where she worked with indigenous communities. The life stories these people, as well as people on her travels, told her made a big impression on her, and made her determined to work towards making the world a better place.
 
It’s hard to imagine a better situation than the current one for Anne, in which by working with Casa de la Alegría, she can combine her passion for a better world with her passion for Spanish!

Léontine – Coordinator in the Netherlands

LeontineFor as long as Léontine de Senerpont Domis can remember she has been attracted to Latin America. Therefore, it was a dream come true when in 2004, she left for Cuzco (Peru) for six months as part of her university studies. Despite having worked as an environmental consultant in the corporate world for four years, “El Sabor Andino” kept calling her back. In 2009, she took a definite leave from the corporate life to focus on developmental projects in Latin America. Léontine first started out as a freelance coordinator in the Netherlands, where she worked supporting small kids and youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods. She also gave environmental education at primary schools. Since this time, Léontine has returned to Peru twice, and during her last stay she was stationed in Huaraz as coordinator for a Dutch developmental organization. The target group of this organization was very much comparable to that of Casa de la Alegría: severely traumatized children and children from the poorest parts of the region. In Huaraz, she worked on school nutrition programs, tutoring students and coaching young adults to be more independent. After the birth of her son in 2012 Léontine decided to take a break from development work in Latin America and returned to the Netherlands. She now lives in Zaandam with her family and works as a coordinator for various social projects in Amsterdam. Léontine finds it fantastic to be the Netherlands-based coordinator for Casa de la Alegría. By working in close collaboration with Laurie and the volunteers’ passion to commit themselves to the organization, she hopes to be able to use her knowledge and skill-set to take part in projects for which she has felt so strongly connected to for so long. For Léontine, part of the continuing dream which she has not actively pursued since 2012 is finally being accomplished!Back to top

Caroline – Webmaster

Caroline Caroline Margaux Gevaert got involved with the foundation in September (welke?). She moved to Cochabamba in June of 2010 for her bachelor internship, fell in love with the country, and ended up staying for 2 years instead of 3 months. She and Laurie met when Laurie was starting up the foundation, and she liked the idea so much that she wanted to get involved. Caroline has built our website, and is responsible for all our technical and web related matters. Back to top

Kim – Editor

Foto Site Kim Kim de Oude has been an editor for Casa de la Alegría since early 2013. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology in Amsterdam and a masters in Medical Anthropology in Edinburgh she wanted to do something good with all that knowledge and experience. By working for the foundation she can combine her passions for anthropology, theater and language perfectly, and she also considers this the perfect opportunity to get to know more about Latin America. Back to top

Marthe – Editor

MartheA language lover; literature, writing, translating… From the moment Marthe could read, she lost her heart to the literary world. Besides reading, Marthe was also creative in other ways: making magazines, newspapers and poems. In high school her love for Hispanic literature and poetry was ignited and lit an intrinsic fire to start learning Spanish. When she went traveling alone for the first time, to Madrid, Marthe felt at home almost immediately. With both feet back on the ground in the Netherlands, she decided to take the plunge and study Roman Languages and Cultures. But Marthe does not stop at a single love for the Hispanic literature; (social) psychology and related topics excite her as well, and these passions were combined in the master Intercultural Communication. House, bells, bliss, or in Marthes case: Casa de la Alegría, opportunities to write/translate and Mimosa (la gata hermosa)! Back to top

Carolien – Editor

CarolienCarolien Jonker has been a volunteer for Casa de la Alegría since March 2015. During her degree she took several Spanish courses, and in 2011 she studied in Mexico for six months, traveling through Middle America afterward. Because of these incredible experiences she feels a deep connection to the Latin American language and culture.   Carolien had been looking for a foundation to volunteer with for a while when she found Casa de la Alegría, and immediately identified with the foundation’s goals. She mostly does editorial tasks. Back to top

Ton – Editor

ton van den born in 2016 kleinTon van der Born has been volunteering for Casa de la Alegría since December 2016, working in our editorial department. Ton is an enthusiastic reader, sportsman, and dancer. He has an avid interest in literature and can easily consume a book a week. During his studies at Wageningen University he undertook an internship in Spain, and later trained as a Spanish interpreter while studying journalism in Utrecht. For many years, he wrote for the Vakblad “Groen Onderwijs” work he found stimulating and which involved interviewing people at ‘green schools’ across the country. At the same time, Ton worked with a Guatemalan university, participating in a project to stimulate environmental consciousness among schools in Guatemala. Currently, he works freelance and, whilst still writing about green education, also writes about gender diversity, drafting content, for example, for the website of Transgender Network Nederland. Ton is pleased to put his journalistic capabilities to use on the innovative projects of Casa de la Alegría. Back to top

Hilde – Editor

bmdFrom the moment Hilde Kema learned how to write it has been one of her favourite means of expression. Consequently, she enjoys using her writing to express her experiences and thoughts.
After finishing her study International Development, Hilde decided to change her path. Moreover, she has always had the wish to make a real contribution to the fields of cooperation and development.
For Hilde, is it highly important to take care of each other. In her job, with the organization, she takes charge of the drafting and editorial tasks, which means she carries out the linguistic activities from her home, and thus is able to provide a valuable contribution to the youth of Bolivia: it is a fantastic role! Back to top

Lajla – Handbook R&W and webshop

Lajla en RobFor most of her working life, Lajla Kleine worked night shifts in institutions for people with mental disabilities. The last five years she spent as a planner and schedule maker. In December 2013 Lajla came into contact with Casa de la Alegría. During the first Skype interview Laurie told her about the Rock and Water program, which we use in Cochabamba (www.rotsenwater.nl), and asked her if she would be willing to oversee the translation of all the documents (which are translated by different volunteers), and make a glossary for uniform terminology, complete the documents with photographs etc. This way a handbook is created that can be used in the workshops, but also in the training sessions with the drama teachers. She finds this to be a fun, but most of all rewarding job.   Besides the Rock an Water manual Lajla and her partner Rob are also responsible for our web shop. They run the online shop, and also try to sell as many products as they can from home, during festivals, benefits and hopefully soon even in a supermarket. Back to top

Rob – Webshop

Lajla en RobRob Rompa came into contact with the foundation in the spring of 2014, through his partner Lajla. The combination of really making an impact on the socially and emotionally neglected children in Cochabamba, and his interest in the Bolivian culture is what really drew him to this project, and he and Lajla hope to visit Bolivia in 2015. He would be really interested in meeting the Bolivian Indians, and get a feel for the daily life in Cochabamba with Laurie and the kids.   In Rob’s working life care, youth work and education play an important role, and with his recently concluded training in garden therapy he hopes to help socially and emotionally overloaded adolescents find and regain their strength. Back to top

Erik – Coach

ErikErik van Gulik has been the foundation’s coach since October 2014. He helps us with personal guidance and by creating more efficient ways of working. Erik takes the person behind the job into account, and helps people find their own solutions. In his own words, Erik is a ‘professional asker of questions’, and if you are looking for a coach we heartily recommend him! For more information see: coffeecoach.nl. Back to top

Nino – Online marketing specialist

NinoNino de Snoo joined the foundation in the summer of 2015. After a difficult and painful spiritual journey, he found more inner peace, strength and light. ‘Living with love’ has become his motto.   ‘After my process of enlightenment I felt a strong connection to the world around me, and thought it was time to volunteer. I want to help people who have been mistreated, something I have become very allergic to. Everyone has a right to a humane and loving existence.’   He wanted to use his social media and marketing experience to help the Casa de la Alegría foundation, so the position of online marketing specialist for our language school in Cochabamba was a perfect fit for Nino. Through Skype he met Sanne, and soon after they started perfecting the Juntucha marketing plan. He also started Juntucha’s different social media channels and posts content regularly.Back to top

Sanne – Marketing specialist Beyond South America

SanneFor Sanne’s friends it came as no surprise: back to South America. Sanne lost her heart to Peru when she was 17 during a school trip, the proceeded to study in Mexico for 6 months, do research into the criminalisation of social protest in Colombia and has now landed as a Marketing Specialist for Beyond South America in Cochabamba. She loves working in jobs where she gets challenged to keep developing her skills and has a diverse range of tasks. The fact that she’s also in a position to help others is a big bonus! ‘Everyone would benefit from a great experience abroad, and who doesn’t wan’t to get the opportunity to experience the variety of cultures in Latin America?! You will never want anything else!’ Terug naar boven

Loulou – Promoter

LoulouLoulou Badoin is a music therapist. In 2016, she undertook an internship at Casa de la Alegría as part of her minor studies in International Sustainable Development Cooperation, which involved action research in a developing country, focusing on sustainable outcomes. With an existing love for the Spanish language, the decision to perform this research in Bolivia was one easily made. During her internship Loulou developed the Libro de metas and the Libro de ejercicios, defining the occupational therapy projects performed by the foundation. The Libro de metas (book of goals) defines the goals which the children work towards in the projects. The book contains all information as to what occupational therapy entails, describes in detail the methods of this form of therapy and explains the difficulties that children may have in goal achievement. The Libro de ejercicios (book of exercises) contains at least 75 exercises. For each exercise the goals, game layout, requirements and evaluation questions are provided. An additional list has been added in which the exercises are organized according to goals held. This makes it far easier for teachers to prepare their classes! Back to top

Elsewietske – Promoter

elsewietskeElsewietske Biever (Else for short) deals with promotion for Juntucha Language school in the Netherlands. Her interest in Latin America found its roots during her Spanish language and literature study program at Leiden University. After a period teaching and translating, Else was active as advisor and account manager for e-learning. The expertise she gained in this position and in the wider field of higher education has proved a useful tool for the promotion of Juntucha. Since late 2016 Else has been happily employed promoting Juntucha, writing promotional texts but also in finding and approaching contact persons such as foreign coordinators and language teachers willing to spread the ‘Juntucha’ word. Back to top

Valentijn – Ambassador

ValentijnValentijn van Gils studied communication in Utrecht. Born in Amsterdam and currently living in Utrecht he’s a real city dweller, but also see the advantages of the peace and quiet of the countryside once in a while. Valentijn has been a Casa de la Alegría ambassador since 2016.Back to top

Other volunteers

Besides our permanent volunteers, we also have plenty of people who, although they don’t have a permanent position (anymore), help us out regularly, for example with our benefits. We are very grateful to these people, and don’t want to let their efforts go unnoticed.   We also have a small army of people who help us out from time to time by translating documents. This mainly concerns books, articles and texts about creative therapy and theory that we would like to use in our programs, but aren’t available in Spanish. We are very grateful to have so many people willing to help us out by translating (parts of) these documents, so we can discuss them with our teachers in Cochabamba, and integrate them into our programs.   So: Elisabeth Verbeeck, Nanette Balkema, Tatiana Togni, Mariëlle Moonen, Pauline van der Valk, Angela Andrea Salinas, Anne Heijdra, Annelieke Baardslag, Sasha Ayoub, Marieke Baron, Carmen Monterosso Rivas, Mercedes Arellano, Anne van der Velde, Sharmaine Bartelen, Katharina Krusselmann, Stevia Jamen, Bernadette Iseli, Leendert Stam, Joris Vermeulen, Joana Gomes Neto, Sami Cameron Donoghue, Frances Morris, Hilmar Zonneveld, Joaquin Morando-Zamba and Cristina Martinez, thank you very much! Back to top