Mon | 22.02.2016
Meet Andre Muit, President of Betania Association, the Dutch guy that has been helping and inspiring Romanians for 20 years now.
1) Dear Andre, please introduce yourself shortly to all our members.
Well...my name is Adrianus Muit, Dutch by birth but I also have been “adopted” as a Romanian after more than 20 years since Betania was born. Adopted like, I don’t know how to say that precisely, but... my friends and colleagues are calling me Andre, or even Andrei, so i guess it`s quite a proof that now i`m one of them, one of the Romanians that I love working with.
2) You are President of Betania Association, NGO now active for over 20 years. For many, Bacau means Betania. What does that mean for you?
It means fulfillment mostly. Because those 20 years were not easy ones, but in the same time those were fascinating, beautiful years. Oh, and it means pride as well, even if it is quite a sin. But I cannot say that I`m not proud of what we did at Betania... That would be a false statement! And there is one more thing that I would like to say: we have created new, higher standards on social services. Betania had to be and had become a gauge among other NGO`s. Nothing unprofessional is accepted at Betania because we have to be the best!
3) In 2014, you launched R.A.F.A, an important campaign dedicated to one of your causes: children fighting autism. Did something change after this action?
Yes, many things have changed, mostly about the public perception on autism. A lot more people now know that autism isn`t a disease, they know that autism can be surpassed with the professional help of specialized therapy. R.A.F.A. was developed together with our friends from Inspire Design, Iulia Iuga Dohmen and Maurits Dohmen, and I want to express my gratitude again for their amazing work on this project.
4) You are a Dutch with a humanitarian mission in Romania. What main obstacles do you face? Would have been easier the other way round? What can Romania learn from the The Netherlands on this matter?
The main obstacle is always represented by obtaining enough funding in order to keep our projects working and, of course, to start new ones. Public authorities do offer a helping hand, but in the same time, that is far from being enough... I think that some points according the public policies concerning social services have to be changed. And actually this is one of the most important lessons that might be learned by Romanians looking at the Dutch example. Social services in Netherlands are mostly offered by NGO`s, the state`s role, or the public authorities role being only the one of offering funding and, of course, checking the way those funds are spent.
5) What are the major social, health and education projects that Betania Association will focus on 2016?
We will keep focusing on improving our services for children with autism, for the youth that need a change in their lives... and of course we want to expand some of our services. For example, we are trying to collect enough money in order to expand the pool for hidrokinetotherapy. About 50 people, children with physical/psychological disabilities do benefit daily from this service, and we just can`t fulfill all the requests for this kind of therapy. With volunteers from Netherlands we are going to build a new health center, we are planning on building a new Day Center in Plopana village...and the list might go on and on...
6) In the end, do you have a message for NRCC members?
I want to express my gratitude for the members of NRCC. Some of them are amazing friends for Betania and as well for Betania’s beneficiaries. Hopefully, this wonderful partnership will extend and for sure, together, we will keep doing what we do: changing lives.