‘Learning’, ‘self-awareness’, and ‘fulfilment’ are a few words that relate to volunteer work. It is what I have in common when I talk to other volunteers. For me, sharing the experience of others helps me understand my own feelings as a volunteer and expat. Most of us in the Delft MaMa community are internationals. We are typically women who have relocated to Delft or The Hague region with our families because of work or study. While searching for information about the Netherlands and Delft, we discover Delft MaMa and end up getting involved.
All of us have a lot to say about our experience in this community and how it has helped us. Today, I would like to share with you stories from some of the amazing women behind Delft MaMa.
“I enjoy the collaborative nature of the organization. Sometimes I just think about how one woman after another has added her expertise, talents and gifts – often in stolen moments of busy days with children – to create this organization that touches so many people’s lives.” – Meredith Aggarwal
Have you heard of Sandra? She helped organize many events for Delft MaMa, such as clothes swaps and high teas. She was also a member of the playgroup team.
Originally from Mexico, Sandra moved to Delft in 2009 to do her Masters degree at TU Delft. She married an Italian and they have two children, a boy and a girl. When her son was 6 months old, she joined Delft MaMa, and it changed her life. In her own words: “I was feeling quite lonely as all my friends were (and still are) mostly single and childless. It was also a long winter so I was glad to meet at the playgroup and start being part of such a nice community. Since then, I have been volunteering in events, playgroups, high teas, clothes swaps, etc.”
Blog proofreader and writer, Yildiz moved to The Hague 5 years ago. Delft became her go-to place whenever she wanted to see more history, art, and modern entertainment. She likes the city so much that she even got married in its historical town hall.
At the beginning of her pregnancy, Yildiz discovered Delft MaMa. She found answers to her questions, received guidance and friendly support. Because of that, she felt an urge to become closer and contribute to this beautiful community as a blog proofreader. In her words: the proofreaders “help our blog writers with editing of their article and make the piece ready to publish on the DMM blog site. This is a process in which you need to proofread the article, exchange drafts with the writer and combine the text with pictures. It is a fun and learning process for both sides. I enjoy the editing work, trying to make it better every time for the readers.”
If you would also like to be part of the blog team, please get in touch.
By sheer coincidence, when Elena wanted to increase her experience in Human Resources, Delft MaMa happened to have a position open for that role. As HR volunteer coordinator, she expanded her competencies in HR with her management and corporate roles.
Delft MaMa also allowed her to partner with them in helping expat families from a career perspective. Besides being a volunteer recruiter, she gives workshops and writes for the blog focusing on career. Some of her articles are: How to Revamp your CV , How to Prepare for a Job Interview, and How to Boost your LinkedIn Presence.
If you would like to join the HR team, please get in touch with Elena via e-mail.
When Meredith and her family moved to Delft, she quickly discovered Delft MaMa and started attending playgroups, where she met many other moms.
At the same time, she was looking for opportunities to continue her career in non-profit leadership. When she became aware that Delft MaMa was more than just a Facebook Group, she applied to volunteer as a playgroup host. Then in 2019, Meredith became chairperson. Applying creative thinking and leadership, she runs the organization and guides the vision for the community.
She found it very inspiring to learn that many international families in Delft have built their social network through Delft MaMa. When she lived in India, her social network came through a platform for travellers and her husband’s colleagues and friends. Moving to the Netherlands with a young child and no family around, she knew she needed to find connections that would support her at this stage of life.
Meredith enjoys the collaborative nature of the organization. “Sometimes I just think about how one woman after another has added her expertise, talents and gifts – often in stolen moments of busy days with children – to create this organization that touches so many people’s lives.”
She adds that Delft MaMa was a big opportunity that allowed her to develop leadership skills and continue her career even with a small child at home. “I have learned a lot and experienced a lot as high-level volunteer for Delft MaMa, and I really recommend others with career or networking goals to take on a challenge like this.”
Newsletter volunteer, Gabriela came across the blogpost “Learning Dutch in Delft”. She thought Delft MaMa looked so nice that she decided to volunteer.
Along with the newsletter, she took on the role of communications coordinator. In her words, “It was a huge jump into the DMM community! At that time the position was brand new, so I was in charge of establishing what were the responsibilities of the Comms Coordinators and how the entire communications team should be organized. Hopefully we had awesome volunteers who made the task seem [almost] easy!”
In this position she was able to use design skills that she does not use elsewhere, ever! She designed the SLiDe logo as well as several infographics for communication campaigns, which can be viewed in the blogpost, Out With The Old, In With The New: Reflecting On 2019 With Delft MaMa. You can see a summary of the communications team achievements during this period in the 2019 communications report.
Agashnee is our Soft Landing in Delft (SLiDe) Project Coordinator. As coordinator, her goal is to help foreigners settle in Delft and build social networks through a mentoring program. She is passionate about helping others by sharing her knowledge and past experience as a newcomer to the Netherlands .
Agashnee also contributed to the Delft MaMa blog with an article on how to help kids learn at home. You can read it here.
“If you would like to be part of the mentoring programme as a mentor, we would love to hear from you. Also, if you require assistance as a mentee (newcomer) we are happy to help for free!”
Interested in volunteering with SLiDe? Please send an e-mail to Agashnee and the team.
In 2015, Ams started as a playgroup host. Later, she joined the website team as a content contributor.
For Ams, 2016 was a dynamic year where almost everything had to be changed and transformed. She helped create the HR/Volunteer team and managed the general Delft MaMa email account, which she continues to handle. Then in May of that year, she joined the Newsletter team, and later was coordinator from 2018 to January 2020.
“To make the story short, I did challenging work but full of fun in DMM especially during the pivotal year of 2016. I just felt the need of DMM wayback 2016 and I got the time so it was purely a good timing. It’s been a long time now being with DMM and I still like to help in my spare time as I see how important the organization is for the internationals especially for the newcomers.”
Dr Nina Bogerd
After moving to the Netherlands in 2012, Nina found Delft MaMa while searching for an expat community. She took various voluntary positions within the organization.
Currently, with support from Delft MaMa, she helps expecting refugee families in the area by providing pro bono material, educational, and emotional support.
She likes to be part of Delft MaMa because “it is a community where skin colors, languages, cultures, blend and work together for the better of women, their families in unjudgmental ways . It is a community that thinks with me, is proactive and solution oriented. It is community where every woman has a possibility to be heard and where she can always count on support.”
Nina also contributes to the blog with articles about birthing in the Netherlands. If you are interested, you can read some of her articles: Pregnancy, Birth And Beyond: Preparing Yourself For Birthing In The Netherlands, or Should I Give Birth At Home Or In A Hospital? Unlike Most Countries, You Have A Choice In The Netherlands, and Nina Bogerd: The Remaking Of My Professional Career And Life In The Netherlands.
This community is made up of incredible women that support one other. If you would like to be part of Delft MaMa, get in contact with us. We will be happy to have more members in our community!
Bárbara is an attorney with experience working as a content producer in a Training and Development consultancy. She moved to the Netherlands in December of 2019 and she is contributing with Delft MaMa since January 2020.