In memory of Anneke by Heleen Luyt.
On 4 August 2020 our sister Anneke passed away, after having received the diagnosis of a terminal disease in November 2019.
In 2003 Anneke founded the Hans van Bokkem Foundation, in memory of her husband Hans van Bokkem, who was tragically killed in a car accident on 19 May of that year. Hans and Anneke had lived in Africa for more than a decade. It was the continent they both loved dearly. Already during their lives the idea was formed to do ‘something good’ for the children of Africa, after their retirement. With the sudden passing of Hans at the age of 51, their wish took shape prematurely. The Hans van Bokkem Foundation was founded with the goal to keep his name alive and in his spirit and vision help children build a future. By providing education children would get a chance to develop themselves and in this way structurally build a better future.
Since the start of the foundation Anneke has used all her knowledge and expertise to make the foundation successful. At the start she knew she needed to find local partners who could help her realize the aforementioned goals. She succeeded in finding three local small-scale organizations, all with active schools, managed by very dedicated and competent people: Atty Hammer-Roos of the Sibusiso Foundation, Philippe Krynen of Partage Tanzania and Fred Meijer of Christian Childcare Program Netherlands. In them she found like-minded partners with whom she could realize the foundation’s goals. Also Atty, Philippe and Fred have been of great importance to Anneke personally, thanks to the warm friendship, support and sense of solidarity she felt among them. The foundation was Anneke’s ‘lifeline’ and Atty, Philippe and Fred played a major role in this. That is why I have asked them to write some personal words too, which they did. For that I want to thank them dearly.
The foundation was Anneke’s life work. Ever since the start she spent almost all of her time on the foundation. She found it very hard to have to do this work alone, and not together with Hans. She was a perfectionist and always wondered whether she could do better. She loved to talk about the foundation, discuss ideas, ask for advice for things she found challenging. But always her perseverance and vigour brought solutions.
The result of her hard work is known: during the period 2004 to 2010 the Hans van Bokkem Foundation has financed the construction of six schools and a hostel in Tanzania and Uganda. All through these years and up until today the foundation has provided financial support for the maintenance and finance of additional construction work of the schools, as well as the operational costs of the school, thereby guaranteeing the quality of education. By doing so Anneke, through the foundation, has made a permanent impact on the lives of many children in Africa. That is why so many children called her ‘mama Anneke’, a name that resonates both love and respect.
With the passing of Anneke the Hans van Bokkem Foundation does not cease to exist. The foundation has enough funds to ensure its continuous support to the existing schools for the coming 10 years. This is the legacy of Anneke and her beloved Hans. As Hans his name will be kept alive with the foundation, so will Anneke’s name be kept alive too.