CARE Caribbean: Network Event focusing on Care and the Social Domain
On November 11, 2023, foundation WeConnect and association AMA are organising the network event CARE Caribbean at the WTC in The Hague. CARE focuses on Caribbean students and care professionals, as well as employers in health care and the social domain.
How can you help a student who wants to get educated in health care or the social domain in the Netherlands? How can you guide and inform them in taking the right choice of their studies? And how do you make sure that this Caribbean student successfully completes the studies? And that, if all goes according to plan, the student chooses to return to the islands as a professional?
The initiators for this event are WeConnect and AMA. At CARE 2018, these organisations cooperated before, when the event attracted over 100 visitors. Once again, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) partners in the project.
Dozens of employers from Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are invited to present themselves in The Hague. “The intention of this event is for the employers to engage with potential employees directly, so we have also invited loads of Caribbean students and care professionals”, explains WeConnect’s manager Tanja Fraai.
WeConnect is an educational foundation that focuses on capacity building for the overseas Kingdom Islands Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius. WeConnect inspires, motivates and promotes island children to return to their home soil in order to reinforce the local labour market.
AMA is an association founded with the aim to connect all (future) care professionals who have affinity with the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom and to contribute to a closer cooperation between the islands and the Netherlands. They achieve this by organising refresher trainings, lectures, the annual Caribbean Healthcare Symposium (CHS), and more.
CARE Caribbean’s central topics are: enhancing the transfer of Caribbean secondary school students becoming students of a care and well-being education. This should consecutively lead to a Caribbean (care) professional trained in the Netherlands who better matches the needs of the labour market in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom. This concerns students with an intermediate and higher vocational education, a university-level education and/or young professionals. Due to the competitive labour market in the Netherlands, it takes extra effort in offering these island children a good perspective overseas and make remigration an attractive alternative. AMA has been working tirelessly on this subject for years.
A special website has been set up for CARE. This is where you can browse through profiles and job openings from employers, such as the Curaçao Medical Center, Fundashon Mariadal from Bonaire, Mental Health Caribbean, GGz Curaçao, Saba Cares, Statia Health Care Foundation, Medical Laboratory Services, and the St. Maarten Medical Center. All participants are based on the islands. Aruban Jayrón Heemstadt has almost finished his studies HBO-Verpleegkunde (higher professional degree course in nursing) in Amsterdam and created a nice animation video for the site powered by his own company JayOhm Designs.
Such a specific meeting appeared to be a need among employers in care and the social domain. For instance, Sint Eustatius Health Care Foundation will be present in Den Haag in November. This organisation describes their motivation to participate in the CARE follows: “At this event, we aim to reach a diverse range of professions, motivating professionals of a Caribbean background to return home. Having care professions that have ties to the Caribbean is important; they will stay for longer period.” Both the HR manager as the Manager Care will attend.
Organisations that will further participate by physically attending the event are the ministry of Public Health in Sint Maarten, Sint Maarten Mental Health Foundation, Medical Laboratory Services and Mental Health Caribbean, representing Bonaire, Saba and Statia.
Carl Blijd, psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Sint Maarten Mental Health Foundation is one of the speakers. He will share his passion about working both from Holland and Sint Maarten for the Caribbean community.
Various speakers from the education sector from the islands and the Netherlands will contribute with a talk. A speaker from a Dutch university will share the best practices that ensured optimum study success, in particular for Caribbean students. “That’s how we learn from one another, as we notice there is still a lot to gain. Despite all (online) available information, it requires quite some search efforts for many students”, comments Samantha Schwengle, secretary of the AMA lecture committee.
The admission for CARE Caribbean is free of charge and everybody who has some affinity with the topic is welcome to join. An easy online registration is mandatory. This is also where you can find the day programme starting at noon and ending at 6 p.m. The venue is the World Trade Center in The Hague.