Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Frank van der Maas. I trained as a nurse in Ermelo and worked in Utrecht and Rotterdam, where I also specialized in Oncology. Since 1990 I have been working abroad for emergency relief projects, medical missionary work and projects for children with disabilities. I also completed a Master in International Health and a number of training courses in CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation).
What knowledge and experience do you bring to CCA?
I have experience is in PHC (Primary Healthcare, hospitals in remote areas) and CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation). In projects for people with disabilities, we provide medical assistance, inclusive schools and vocational training. I also work in projects for OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children), PLWA (People living with Aids), and a project that builds water tanks.
In Thailand and Sudan I gained experience with emergency relief projects. I am currently responsible for a number of projects in Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau. I hope to continue with these projects (part-time) and work part-time for CCA.
I hope I can use my experience but also learn new things in Uganda.
What makes your heart beat faster?
My guideline for Christian development work can be found in texts such as Isaiah (58 verses 6 and 7) and Matthew (25 verses 31 to 46).
In the projects we hope to help everyone who is vulnerable, especially children and young people with disabilities. I am very motivated when I see children who can walk again after surgery or who can go to school in a wheelchair for the first time. And also when a deaf child can learn sign language or a blind child can go to school, which suddenly makes their world so much bigger. Many things which seem impossible at first glance can be improved in a simple way.
What are you going to do?
I hope to continue helping children with disabilities. Many of them have already been helped by surgery in recent years (e.g. clubfoot or cleft palate), but we also hope to help children with other disabilities in the project (e.g. children who are blind or deaf, or who have epilepsy). Together with the family and the workers I hope to look for solutions so that children with disabilities can go to school or learn a trade.
Why is the work of CCA so important?
We want to work as much as possible with families of children with disabilities, the government, churches, local health workers, schools and so on. But in the north of Uganda, few organizations are active in the field of supporting children with disabilities.
What is your wish for CCA?
I hope that the work of CCA will improve the lives of many children and their families and gives them a better future. And that together we can make a difference. I hope that vulnerable children are increasingly accepted in their environment and can dream of a bright future like every child does.
I hope that together we will mainly look at the quality of life of children and young people with disabilities and not just look at how big we can grow or how many children we can help (the quantity) because it is difficult to express what a child really experiences with numbers only..