Before the outbreak of covid-19, we were able to have a chat with Alain de Schutter, who founded Stichting Kletsmajoor. Stichting Kletsmajoor is a foundation that connects students and interns with elderly in the Netherlands. We talked with Alain about his foundation and about how Kletsmajoor makes a difference.
How did you start Kletsmajoor?
‘Kletsmajoor has been started out of Monkeys and Bananas. Monkeys and Bananas is a marketing consultancy and I am one of the co-owners. A little over one and a half year ago, we started this company and we started working with quite big brands. Soon after, these companies more or less dictated our agendas. I started wondering why I created this company again and whether this was what I really wanted. It wasn’t. I was already a buddy with a guy from Eritrea and I helped him with very simple tasks in order for him to be more included in society. I noticed that this gave him joy and his joy also gave me joy.
I started reading about millennials and about adding value to people’s lives. I read that you create endorphins as soon as you are doing something for someone else. Then this question popped up: what if I give my interns a couple of hours a week within working time to help out elderly? And that’s how it started. The interns of our company got two hours a week to have a cup of coffee with elderly or to play cards with them.
It was successful and I thought it would be so useful if other companies also start doing this. There are so many interns every semester. They can have so much positive impact on the lives of elderly. Then I decided to create a foundation around the concept, to be able to have that impact.’
Why did you choose to help out elderly with Kletsmajoor?
‘Well, I did not choose for it myself. I asked the interns to choose themselves and it turned out that all of them wanted to help lonely elderly. I also noticed that it was useful to narrow the story down for people to understand the concept, so we did.’
And why interns?
‘There are so many young people nowadays with burn-outs. We wanted to show our interns that there are more important things in life than work and deadlines. This way, we are able to help elderly and we show young people who are at the start of their careers that work is not the only thing in life. This way we also hope to prevent them from having a burn out in a later stage of their career.’
What does the future hold for Stichting Kletsmajoor?
‘We have extended our network and we are talking to different companies and organizations who also work with interns. We start small and we are currently organizing this for our own interns and for interns of the municipality of Breda. We see this phase rather as a pilot phase. But in the meantime we are in the process of making partnerships with other companies and organizations in Breda to have more positive impact with our foundation.’
Do you want to learn more about Stichting Kletsmajoor? Check out their website: https://stichtingkletsmajoor.nl/