zaterdag 28 november 2020

Interview: Mathilde Foundation turns 20

 28 November 2020

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of her foundation, Queen Mathilde gave interviews to various Belgian media.


Mathilde: "I have always had a vocation to help others, it was stimulated in my family. So for me it was a logical step to become a speech therapist. And later I added a psychology degree to that. Starting my own Foundation that aims to help those who struggle in society was only natural."

"We talk to our children about what we do, in the hope that they will also reach out to other people".

The Princess Mathilde Foundation, as it was originally named was founded in 2000, a year after Mathilde's marriage to crown prince Philippe. It was based on the financial gifts the couple had received as wedding gifts.

Each year a project call is launched by the Mathilde Foundation. The winner receives € 10.000, but about 15 other projects will also get a financial aid (up to € 9.000) and often the personal visit of Mathilde. In total € 150.000 is donated each year by the Queen Mathilde Foundation.

Whereas the past 3 years, the Foundation focused on the benefits of music for young people, Mathilde was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic for the new project launch. The theme for the 2020 call was "Relance/Résilience": young people's resilience, and young people helping each other. The reply has been overwhelming, according to Mathilde.

About the previous theme, music: Mathilde also knows its benefits. "I use music as a way to relax. To me it's pure enjoyment."

What about the pandemic. How has home schooling gone down at Laeken? "Some of our children had digital classes, and later they partially went back to school. It's been challenging at times, all of us working from home, but I can't complain. It's the pupils from less privileged backgrounds that cause concern. They drop out once the schooling becomes digital, they can't be reached by teachers and their families can't help them."

"Young people are hit hard by this crisis. They like being able to have social contact. It is the beginning of their life, of the development of their autonomy. This crisis is slowing them down. The message I would like to give them is that they believe in themselves. The efforts we are making now will bear fruit. Sooner or later there will be an end to this pandemic. It is important to be able to tell this to young people now. The Fund's main concern is to be able to strengthen the most vulnerable. With, also, an aspect on mental health."

About Christmas this year: "We will celebrate it in our intimate circle. Of course it will be joyous, but smaller than on other occasions. We'll respect the security measures to protect those who are vulnerable."

Archive photos from the Mathilde Foundation

Here Mathilde talks about the evolution her Foundation has undergone.

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