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GeenStijl: Laser 3.14 – Do charities such as Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind live up to their name?

Laser 3.14, here already a decade and a half defaced and while strolling through the canal town we are regularly confronted with its tags in the wild. Sometimes we meet the man himself. Laser walks with a heavy heart about two charities – Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind and the Amsterdam animal shelter – who robbed his mother of her deceased husband’s estate. We spoke about his story and said: “It is shocking how organizations that constantly appeal to people’s minds and good hearts are so icy before a judge to make your mother’s last years difficult, complicated and sad. It seems as if the whole (professional) world has started to confuse its own interest with a public interest.” He then asked if the story could also be published on GeenStijl. Yes & hereby. As a weapon of impotence, a petition has been set up here to call on the ‘charities’ to reject Cees’ extorted legacy and leave it to the rightful next of kin. The full story, written by Laser, below.

Do all charities live up to their name?

I am Laser 3.14. street artist and closer. I mainly write short texts. This will not be a short text but a long story about a painful case that affects me personally.

This story is about charities. Organizations that stand up for the weak, the less fortunate among us. And about how I discovered over the past two years that there is also a downside to some charities.

Cees passed away in 2021. My mother’s husband, my stepfather. When he met my mother, Cees had had a few tough years. He lost his wife and from then on things went downhill. He managed to wrestle himself out of a wandering existence with the help of a friend named Anna.

At that time, Cees had a will drawn up with Anna as the sole beneficiary. Anna and Cees helped each other. Cees took care of Anna because she was ill and she gave him a safe place to live. Because Cees had no children, it is very likely that the civil-law notary then asked who would inherit if he survived Anna. He probably then randomly selected two charities, chosen from the folders in the office of the notary. Cees was not lucky: Anna died a year later. He was distraught and fell into a deep depression again. Via Theo and Renus he ended up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and slowly climbed back on top.

Our family; my mother, her husband and eight children came to Amsterdam just before the independence of Suriname in 1975. We wandered from house to house for a short while, eventually ending up in Bos en Lommer. My mother was having a hard time. We were poor. When our father left us, the care of eight children fell entirely to my mother. She was on her own and did what she could. For years she worked as a cleaner in the Wibauthuis.

Cees and my mother met through the Jehovah’s Witnesses and they started a relationship; they decided to give life another chance together. They even married in community of property, and lived happily ever after… until Cees fell ill. He got Parkinson’s and got sicker and sicker. When he also made a nasty fall, he ended up in the hospital. There he eventually died of pneumonia and Covid.

My mother took care of Cees until the very end. She bathed, fed and changed him when he was no longer able to do so himself. Times were tough for all of us, but she was grateful to be able to do that for him and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. After Cees died and we started handling all matters, a will from 1997 turned up through the notary. Something we knew nothing about and Cees never talked about. We saw Anna’s name in it, but also two charities. We decided to obtain information from a lawyer. There must have been a mistake, because Cees was sure that everything was well arranged for my mother.

The animal shelter and the handicapped child
We agreed with our lawyer, Anne-Marie Bouwmeester, who works at Spuistraat 10 Advocaten in Amsterdam, to approach the charities so that we could come to an agreement together. We agreed with the charities at Dierenopvang Osdorp (DOA), where I had recently helped to brighten up the doghouses with graffiti art. Free of course. There we met Henk-Willem Laan, the director of Stichting Het Gehandicapte Kind (SGK), and Hans Fokkens, the director of DOA. The conversation was very friendly and personal. Everyone seemed to agree that Cees would never have wanted this situation for my mother.

Despite this nice conversation, the charities have accepted the legacy with all the consequences for my mother. I decided to go to the press with this story and received a response from Irene van der Linde of De Groene Amsterdammer. She was interested and eager to meet my mother to find out if there was a story in it. She has conducted further research into and interviewed relevant parties about the practices of charities in situations such as those of Cees and my mother.

The session was on November 24 and we sat opposite the team of charities that have made it so difficult for us in recent years that we have not even got around to processing the loss of Cees. Due to the attitude of the charities, my mother cannot access her savings, with the result that she could not (and probably for the last time) go to Suriname. Her children have to step in to keep her out of trouble. A situation that my mother has a lot of trouble with.

Cees wanted it that way?
The charities continue to insist that they act according to Cees’ last wish and that it is not about the money for them. During the session they even indicated that they had formed an image of Cees and that they were sure that Cees had wanted this. And by ‘this’ they implicitly meant: disinheriting my mother.

The charities dare to say this about a person they have never met. They are included in a forgotten will from 1997. Cees did not even know my mother when he included this in his will. (And it is not the case that Cees suddenly stopped wishing in 1997.) The sixteen years that my mother and Cees were married are conveniently swept aside. My mother gets half of the estate and that is more than enough, according to the charities. Everyone who knew Cees well indicates that he loved my mother very much and that it is impossible that he would have wanted to disinherit her. Cees has forgotten the will or he thought that he would leave my mother cared for because he was married to her in community of property.

The charities later stated to the journalist of De Groene Amsterdammer that they never reject a legacy. This means that we have been invited for an interview with them under false pretenses. Where we honestly told about our Cees, they were only looking for something on which to base their acceptance of the estate. This deception has touched us deeply.

“You have to peel off the emotion”
In my opinion, the charities have a great moral responsibility, not only towards their donors and volunteers, but also towards the people they help. That morality and mercy are so far to be found is worrying to say the least. In a nice podcast by Jort Kelder last month, about charities, it is indicated that some charities are more concerned with raising money than with the purpose for which the charity was founded. I think that is also the issue here. It is important for people to realize this if they plan to include a charity in a will.

The directors of these charities pay themselves a hundred thousand euros per year from the donations. They never thought about the consequences for my mother of Cees’s human error. They have only been concerned with securing their money. SGK director Henk-Willem Laan said coolly in the article by De Groene Amsterdammer: “In situations like this, you have to peel off the emotion.” He has easy talking. She cannot peel off the emotional and financial damage my mother suffers as a result of this. She is eighty, frail, walks with a walker and lives on an old-age pension with a supplementary widow’s pension.

My mom was right when she said to me last year:They see me as nothing. I am nothing to them.

Laser 3.14

-nb artwork between the text by GS the art library fetched-

The article is in Dutch

Tags: GeenStijl Laser charities Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind live

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