What can you expect here? There are many organisations working for children’s rights and they all have websites (some you can find under links here). So what will this website add?
This website has the perspective of psychologist and educator Philip Veerman.
Veerman was part of many developments: in 1970 most emotionally disturbed children in the Netherlands were in large institutes in the countryside. After a field placement in Canada with Browndale Veerman became convinced that a pilot project of small “therapeutic families” within the community would be worthwhile to try in the Netherlands and he obtained start up money from the Stamps for Children Fund (Kinderpostzegels) and convinced the Municipal Social Services in Amsterdam and the Justice Ministry to place children there. Soon many other organisations started to have family group homes in the Netherlands . The project was a catalyst. For Professor Jannie Sanders-Woudstra (a child psychiatrist in Rotterdam) he organised the start of therapeutic foster family care in Rotterdam. In Amsterdam he worked with school-dropouts.
During a visit to Israel Veerman saw in Yad Vashem (the Centre for commemoration and research of the Holocaust) a statue of a man with his hands around a group of children (Janusz Korczak). Soon he met Smuel Gogol (a former pupil of Dr. Henryk Goldszmit, the real name of Janusz Korczak – a penname of this paediatrician and educator – who was killed with the children of his orphanage by the Nazi’s in the Treblinka death camp). This lead to the Janusz Korczak Stichting in the Netherlands, which tried to get the books of Korczak translated from Polish into the Dutch language. In 1985 Veerman started to work on a doctoral dissertation in which a Chapter was dedicated to Korczak.
In Israel he started a Section of Defence for Children International. There the Section promoted legal representation in the Israeli juvenile courts (a new thing at the time) and had a project of detention-monitoring. He experimented with DCI Israel civil society joint projects with Palestinian NGO’s. In the time of the Oslo agreements there was hope that this could contribute to peace, but unfortunately this all was maybe too naive. Most of them ended in disappointment. But if somebody tried it was Veerman. For DCI in Geneva (of which he became the President) he visited Sierra Leone in the civil war and interviewed former child soldiers. They gave a new Section of DCI Sierra Leone a push.
Back in the Netherlands he became a forensic psychologist and helped Bouman mental health in Rotterdam to start projects for adolescents and young adults. Being a board member of the Centre Children’s Rights Amsterdam (CCRA) of the University of Amsterdam he is trying to make sure that law and pedagogy students of the two Universities in Amsterdam will be able to study children’s rights, youth law and family law.
Veerman is not only a “doer”, but tries to reflect in his publications. Here you have them all together on this website.
March 5, 2103