By Deborah Valentine.
For more than 28 years ACCESS has been serving the international community, of The Hague and the Netherlands.
Starting in 1986 from the then small international community of The Hague, ACCESS has grown into a unique formula of community building & support. The volunteers it recruits, 90% of which are themselves ‘expats’, or as we prefer to call them internationals, have been using their skills, talents, time and empathy to create a supportive structure for new arrivals. Working as much for themselves as for the public at large, volunteers at ACCESS have over the years formed friendships, created a community for one another, and shared their experiences: all, to help people settle and live in the Netherlands as successfully as possible and make the most of their time in this country.
Through its Helpdesk ACCESS volunteers are available five days a week, by phone or email, with the questions people may have: questions which range from understanding the healthcare system to finding a special service. On the website: volunteers and Partners share their knowledge, several FAQ Guides can be found, a topical quarterly lifestyle e-zine and a broad variety of articles on multiple aspects of living in the Netherlands. And, the on-call Counselling Network is there to guide those in need of more specific support to the answers they need.
Volunteering opportunities are currently most accessible to those who live in and around The Hague, but the value of our information is accessible, and relevant to anyone living anywhere in the Netherlands.
Want to know more, perhaps be a part of this vibrant community building network, meet people in a similar situation as yours – even perhaps from your own country of origin? Do take part in one of the monthly information sessions, or speak to Mr Roy Lie A Tjam former ACCESS Volunteer and currently Editor of the Diplomat Magazine for his impressions.
March 18th Volunteer Information Morning (http://access-nl.org/about-access/how-we-do-it/volunteers/volunteer-information-mornings.aspx)
March 30th Welcome to The Hague (http://access-nl.org/about-access/what-we-do/welcome-to-the-hague.aspx)