Focus on Education

What is Focus on Education?

Posts about Focus on Education

Who is Focus on Education?

Focus on Education is a small development organization in Asia and Africa performing educational projects in collaboration with local partners. It has started with Marijke who did huge effort to open a school in a Sri Lankan prison while her husband Jacques was working on a Dutch exchange program.


Projects are, or have been, in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Congo and Gambia.



Boy from Taati, a tiny settlement where shepards can leave their sheep graze outide the school

How did I came in touch with Focus on Education?


I came into contact with Marijke and Jacques through my mother, and when I met them while they were giving a presentation about their work, I decided to help them. Since I travel anyway I thought it better to give some value to it by ‘donating my time’ instead of visiting one temple to yet another temple.



How did we change words into actions?


When I started traveling in March 2007, we talked together about the possibilities. Like where I could go, what I could do for the foundation, whom I could go meet and what I need to know. I see a very dramatic film about a boy Dharmender, who is helped by Focus on Education. He had an open skull wound where you had a view right on his brains. I hear an impressive story about Kaliappan, a boy to a self-martyrs caste who wanted to step out of this strange profession whereby he lost his arm. I learn why Lalitha would have died without help and how semi nomads receive necessary education while they can continue to let their goats and buffaloes grazing.


Gujjar semi nomad girl

I also learn that Marijke is an incredibly passionate and sincere woman, she gives me a warm feeling immediately. I feel we have a shared passion, however little I act out, and a connection. With a number of places, addresses and descriptions I set off. I end up in a world full of warm people, people with a purpose, people without being interested in profit but with a vision. I’m surrounded by people who invite me, taking me by the hand and lead, and suddenly there will be an extra dimension while traveling. And the funny thing is, this is not only by people connected with Focus on Education, but it seems with many more people I meet randomly. Of course, nothing is as randomly as we might think…


Boy from a remote village in the hills

Before I arrive somewhere Marijke gives me the relevant information of places and projects to visit, so I know where to look out for. Or sometimes she deliberately give no clue about my coming, so when I arrive at a project uninformed, I see the immediate truth, without cute welcome flags, but an unadorned, honest and truthful reality. Sometimes I get a list of questions and details where I should pay attention to, but most of all: I observe.

Lalitha, the girl who would have died if her eye was not operated

So, I visit people and schools and see through the situation because I can stay a longer time than an average visit. As if it were, my eyes are connected as a kind of extension cord of Marijke and Jaqcues their own eyes. A striking fact is that the sense of Marijke and my impression match completely. This makes it possible for Focus on Education to take otherwise very difficult decisions, because distance and a difference in culture makes cooperation at times a struggle.

Gujjar semi nomad boy

How do we do it?


Marijke and Jacques ensure that there is some extra publicity just before I am off to another travel, we go to a radio interview and have a couple of articles published. We have a short television interview that Marijke has arranged, in the hope that more attention will attract more money. I got a column in a local magazine. We put all our efforts into winning a price for a charity event, I try to get local attention in countries who offer me this option and meanwhile, Marijke and Jacques visit schools in the Netherlands to get Dutch children awareness about the fact that not all children are so lucky to be able to go to school. Marijke and Jacques their approach is not only about gaining money but about gaining awareness because only then people will make the circle go round.

Gujjar semi nomad father

I discover that Marijke and Jacques putting in more than 100% effort and áll their time, space and a great love for their foundation, where a lot of volunteers are giving them a helping hand. I am very happy to be a part of Focus on Education, as a field worker. Perhaps not as often as I hoped or thought, but each such time I derive great gratitude. Thank you, Marijke and Jacques.

Gujjar semi nomad boy

Handy Information


If you have any questions please call or e-mail us.


Organisation Focus On Education Street: Hulsdonk 11 Postal code: 4844RR Place: Terheijden Country: The Netherlands Telephone: +31 76 5932971 Bankaccount: 1267.61.930 Internet: E-mail: 


My e-mail address is and more is to be seen here


Batlagundu, Tamil Nadu, India

By Cindy

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and countries I needed to be (over 90 in total). I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now try to be more self-sustainable, grow our own food and live off-grid. I now juggle with the logistics of being an old-fashioned housewife, cook and creative artist loving the outdoors. The pouches I create are for sale on

6 replies on “What is Focus on Education?”

Erg goed en naar waarheid beschreven Cinderella. Iedereen die dit leest begrijpt dat we erg blij zijn met jouw inzet voor onze stichting. We boffen dat we jou hebben ontmoet. Bovendien ben je een goede vriendin van ons geworden!!! Groetjes, Jacques en Marijke


Dear Marijke & Jacques, I thought -on demand of a few English speakers, one of them Henrik- to put a translation onto the blog as there was still none! And right on the ‘slider’ as well so I hope to get MORE attention for us : ))


Don't just stop here, I appreciate your thoughts too : )

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