One local NGO is taking it upon themselves to rebuild the bridge between the Netherlands and its former olonies, and all in a fashionable, creative and engaging way.
The history between Europe and South America is long, deep and extremely complicated. Widely known are the stories of subjugation, slavery and oppression which were all maintained by European powers over the local populations, for many years. One of these European countries was the Dutch Republic (which eventually morphed into the Kingdom of the Netherlands). During the 17th century, the Republic became embroiled in a running series of naval battles against, well, pretty much everyone. This included the Spanish, the French and the British. For many of these battles, the stage was set on the waves of the Pacific, in and around the Caribbean islands which had become vital locations for the worldwide trade of exotic goods, and primarily of slaves.
Curaçao is one of these islands, whose development over the last 400 years has occurred against the backdrop of its past as a prime market for the slave trade. From 1634, the Dutch began to settle on the island, under the guise of the Dutch West Indies Company, and established plantations, markets and mining infrastructure. The ramifications of this treatment are still being felt, and expressed by wide social disparities across the Curaçaoen community.
So where does this lead us to today? Well, it leads us to the mission of local NGO, MissIQ Beauty, which aims to take
young Dutch females, exceptional in their intelligence, passion and determination, and connect them with needy children in
Caribbean islands. 2012 is their first year of operations, and Curaçao is their primary mission objective. Founder, Ruth Groenewoud, is a native to Curaçao and longtime resident of the Netherlands. As a life-long professional carer, Ruth’s passion has always been to ensure the wellbeing of those in greater need. Asked about her drive to create MissIQ Beauty, Ruth says simply that ‘my heart beats for people who have difficulty, particularly for the less fortunate on my native island’.
So the aim of MissIQ Beauty is to provide a bridge of assistance between the Netherlands and Curaçao (and eventually all the Caribbean islands) and they have a very clear picture of how to go about it.
It’s all about creating ambassadors, through a more refined version of the beauty contest concept. Several months have been spent fielding applications, running events and choosing a select group of young, impassioned and dedicated women, one of whom will provide the face and drive for bringing publicity and funds to the education of children in Curaçao. On the 26th of October, a score of guests will be treated to a huge event, held at De Koning hotel, in Sloterdijk. DJs, bands, VIPs and, of course, this select group of driven women will all come together to make a difference to a world which, whilst far away, is intricately connected to their own past and heritage.
On the night, the potential ambassadors will first be holding an auction, for various ‘cultural’ goods to be bought and the money donated to the foundation’s mission – providing better education and health care for impoverished children in Curaçao. From this stage, a select group of judges, who include Miss Universe 2001, Reshma Roopram, will decide on the first round qualifiers. Further activities, concepts and initiatives will follow, giving each of the ladies a chance to show why they are the best choice as ambassador on this mission of change. For the guests, it proves to be a night of fun, inspiration and social enterprise.