Irma Koornstra

“They are very motivated to take back the knowledge and implement it in their own institution at home”

“I experienced from a young age that education is important and can make a difference in one’s life. My personal motivation links back to the way my mother was raised and her experience with education. My grandparents were sailing with a cargo ship/skûtsje through Northern part of the Netherlands and were constantly on the move. My mother was not always able to attend primary school, only when my grandparents stayed on land (winter period). The educational system in the Netherlands back then, was not conforming to absentee students and continued regardless. It limited interaction and special attention for absent students such as my mother. My mother felt that by not finishing primary school, it limited her in her life, because she had not had the opportunity to study and learn how to read and write properly.

It is the main reason why my mother always encouraged us to have an education, go to school and stressed the importance of this for the development of our career paths. The importance of education, comes back to me daily, because I work for the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, I see how important education is and how much students are growing during their time at Hanze. As an educational institution, we facilitate their growth.

What brought me to contribute and donate to Hanze University Foundation is my own experience abroad and seeing the limited opportunities in for example townships in Southern Africa. The extent of poverty and how not having the funds limits someone from developing or not having the opportunity to study really leaves a mark on you and reminds me of my mother. Sometimes the education institutions are not able to facilitate as much as they would like to, because they lack materials and books.

I have always worked in education and truly believe it is an important tool to advance in one’s life. What I like about Hanze University Foundation is its transparency and its reachability in regards to what they stand for, what they do and where all their invested time and money goes to. Sometimes I see exchange students from Africa in the hallway at Hanze. They are very motivated to take back the knowledge and implement it in their own institution at home. It bares its fruits and shows where my contribution is going to. It confirms to me that we are making an even bigger difference than just this single person.”

Irma Koornstra, Hanze staff member and loyal contributor to the Hanze University Foundation.