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Jon de Ruijter (39, Director Erasmus Sport)

“Let’s do it! That’s what went through my mind when I heard that 200 refugees were about to be housed at Erasmus Sport Center at Woudestein. It only took 9 minutes to get all the gyms cleared. The approx. 650 members who were present at the time offered to volunteer, followed by many others. They set up the beds, organized sports competitions but also took care of the children.

The atmosphere is good but it is hard to see so much suffering. I’ve just become father for the second time. Last week, a lot of children came in, some as old as mine. The first few days they were all cheerful and energetic but today they’re all depressed and full of tears. According to Red Cross employees it’s because they now have the rest to unwind. They all had terrible journeys, and they’re not even there yet. When I saw my own children sitting on the couch when I got home, it really hit me.

I am proud of the cooperation with the City of Rotterdam, Red Cross, Salvation Army, numerous volunteers and of the facilities we have to offer. Together we make it happen! The Sports Center is still often seen as the Gallic village at Erasmus University but we manage to feed people from our small canteen. It’s a busy time and I don’t see a lot of my home these days, but it’s great that we can help. EUR has risen above itself!”

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