Soualiga Foundation hosts student forum next month

POSTED: 02/28/12 1:30 PM

THE HAGUE – Stichting Soualiga Foundation (SSF) hosts its first-ever student forum under the theme: ‘To study successfully and to return successfully’ on April 20. The forum will look at the accumulated complaints from students, guardians and educational institutions about the difficulties St. Maarten students face in achieving their goals during their studies in the Netherlands. In addition to this, there has been much dissatisfaction about the limited opportunities graduates/young professionals face when returning home.

The forum’s main goal is to bring together students, recent graduates and young professionals in order to discuss and document factors that affect the academic performance of St. Maarten students in the Netherlands, as well as look at how they can return to St. Maarten successfully after completing their studies. There have been similar activities in the past where these factors have been discussed but this forum is set apart by two additional elements. Firstly, the goal is to carry out an objective study and collect data about issues affecting students. Secondly, the data being retrieved will be provided by the students directly. Consequently, the collected information will be submitted to the relevant authorities on St. Maarten with the aim that active policies will be created, which will eventually help St. Maarten students on their scholastic and professional journeys.

“I see this as a chance for students to participate, challenge themselves, and pick up their responsibility to join in and be part of the process of the nation building of our beloved country,” foundation chairman Perry Geerlings said.

In order to make the event a success, SSF has enlisted the help of other institutions such as the S4 Foundation and the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten. The S4 Foundation has been accommodating with regards to the promotion of the event. In addition, Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten, Mathias Voges, has made his cabinet’s facilities available for the organizing committee and board meetings.

The upcoming student forum is the foundation’s first initiative since its inception on November 11, 2011. However, the foundation is not solely geared towards students. It was created for all St. Maarteners because of a real need for a foundation that caters to the specific social and cultural needs of St. Maarteners living in the Netherlands. It is a place where gaps between the Netherlands and St. Maarten are bridged; where the country is represented and promoted; where St. Maarteners can be themselves, and can find acceptance and belonging. In short, Stichting Soualiga Foundation is a foundation for and by the people of St. Maarten.

There has already been great enthusiasm for the initiative across the board – from the Sint Maarten government, municipalities in the Netherlands and the students themselves.

However, SSF is still in need of sponsors who are passionate about, and willing to contribute financially to, the positive development of St. Maarten students/graduates through this enterprise.

The foundation would like to request the support and cooperation of companies and individuals on Sint Maarten that are interested in supporting Stichting Soualiga Foundation goals (in any shape or form). For more information please contact Perry Geerlings, Carol Voges or Maria Charles at: or 0031-(0)70-215 6067.

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