Using crowd-funding to fund part of your studies. It could become a trend now that Dutch students will no longer be getting the basis grant. Richella Parker and Jaimy Coster are blazing the trail.
The second-year students of International Development Studies want to do a minor at the University of Curacao. The tuition fees alone come to nearly 1800 euros apiece. ‘We really can’t raise that through our part-time jobs, so we have started a campaign,’ says Coster. ‘We’ll pay all the costs of our flight and accommodation ourselves,’ adds Parker. The pair got to know each other on their course. They are best friends and do voluntary work together at the Ronald McDonald House in Arnhem. In the coming months they are going to do their best to draw attention to their fundraising campaign. ‘We are going to sell food, run cooking workshops and stand at markets to tell people about our plans and the possibility of sponsoring us,’ says Coster. ‘Richella is a good cook and has experience of running workshops,’ adds Parker. ‘Only after 14 February will we actively start recruiting sponsors, because until then we are very busy with exams and resits.’ But the two keen students do post news of their sponsorship activities almost every day on facebook.com/jointhejourney.
After getting their degrees, Coster and Parker want to do development work in Central or South America. As well as taking courses in the law faculty at the university, they will also visit several development projects on the Caribbean island. Coster explains: ‘I was on Bonaire in November. It struck me how much there is still to be done in relation to children’s rights. Corporal punishment, for instance, is still very normal in schools. Coster, who has roots in Curacao, knew at once: I want to do something about this. And preferably on the island her father comes from. Her friend Parker, who came to the Netherlands from Suriname two year ago to study, had previously decided to do a minor in Suriname. Parker: ‘But we thought: if we both want to go to that region, let’s go to the same place.’ They chose Curacao for practical reasons: unlike Suriname, the semesters in Curacao run parallel to the teaching periods at Wageningen, so they will not fall behind in their programme.