Spreading love, one child at a time
Spreading love, one child at a time
Spreading love, one child at a time Although she was born around 8,000 kilometres from India, in Amsterdam, Maartje van den Brand found her calling here. Her tough childhood helped her empathise with others in need and do everything in her power to make difference, anyway she could. Team Culturama got in touch with her to learn about her incredible work at Manasa Jyothi in Karnataka with children with special needs

When she was 3 months old, Maartje van den Brand had open-heart surgery and became one of the first to survive the operation. She then went on to spend the initial four years of her life in hospitals. ‘It was during that period that I felt my life needs to have a purpose and I must do something to give back to the world,’ Maartje recounts.

She became a physiotherapist and answered a call for work in the slums of Makassar, Indonesia, for a year with children with special needs. After finishing her work there, she came back to her cushy life in Amsterdam, only to find something missing. ‘I knew what I did there was something that touched my heart and I was good at it. But life in Amsterdam kept me busy, until one day I decided that something else was calling me again. I got in touch with a voluntary organisation and decided to go to India. I gave up my practice, rented out my house and left for India.’

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April 2020