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Building bridges & practicing understanding

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Last week (18-5), Transvaal came into the picture extensively in a report by Nieuwsuur. The reason is the question, which is playing a broad social role, whether labor migration can counteract the tightness on the labor market. In Transvaal and Laak, where many of these migrants find accommodation, this leads to misunderstanding and annoyance. The carrying capacity of these neighborhoods has been exceeded many times over.

As a team of Hopeful Transvaal, we want to be there for all residents, both for labor migrants and the 'old' residents of Transvaal. It might be good to mention that this hardly concerns the contrast between labor migrants vs. native Dutch people. The 'old' residents are often second or third generation migrants, especially from Morocco, Surinam and Turkey. Greeks and Bulgarians, who have sometimes been living here for 10 to 15 years, are also often disturbed by the nuisance and insecurity, which means that their families have to make their way. Yet it is also too short-sighted to designate people who have only been here for a short time or who travel in and out as 'perpetrators'. First of all, it is a system that is not good, a system of which migrant workers are often victims - I do not want to justify anti-social behavior with this! These problems require an integrated approach from the municipality of The Hague and the government. Better regulation of labor migration is an absolute necessity to make it livable again in the Transvaal.

With Hoopvol Transvaal we want to form a community where all residents can find a place, regardless of origin or how long you have been in the Netherlands. It is precisely in this unruly context with all its problems and tensions that we want to take our place. It is precisely here that we want to follow Jesus, strive for the good of each other and the whole neighborhood, and invite others to join in. We ourselves also experience the tensions, we also experience annoyance and misunderstanding about how certain things are going in the neighborhood and sometimes also about how people behave. However, judging is easy, Jesus taught. Building bridges and practicing understanding are a lot more challenging, but – we are convinced of that! – that can also lead to very special situations and encounters; and when God uses it, even permanently changing and enriching lives, not only of others, but our own as well.

Hoping for the best!

Dick Groenendijk

The specific Nieuwsuur report can be found via this link (from 13:50).

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