A community that proves itself
In Tilburg, 13% of the population lives below the poverty line. Quiet wants to draw poverty to the attention and alleviate it. After the successful launch of magazine Quiet 500, the first Quiet Community started in Tilburg in 2015. By now, the concept has proven itself and will be rolled out in the rest of the country soon. Project leader Esther Croes tells the story.
In 2015, Esther Croes was asked by Hans van Vugt to come work for Quiet: “That question came at the right moment. After a career in the event and musical industry, I was looking for more meaning. Quiet immediately ignited that flame.”
Poverty from a different perspective
Esther: “My first workday at Quiet was on 17 October, 2015, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and also the day that the Quiet Community was launched in Tilburg. That day, we started at the foodbank with the goal to commit 250 people to the Quiet Community. I spoke to a lot of members of the foodbank, which was emotional. But I also heard many beautiful stories. It opened my eyes and I saw poverty from a different perspective. I heard what was really happening, the shame and the taboo that exists. This is exactly what we want to show and put an end to with Quiet.”
Watching people grow
From this philosophy, Esther has been building the Quiet Community for the last 18 months, together with a powerful core team and many active volunteers. The Community includes members (people who live in poverty), sponsors (the business sector) and supporters (individuals). They can offer their services and their time via an online platform. “Currently, we have more than 3000 members (including 800 families) and 300 sponsors in Tilburg. I am still touched every day by all the moments of happiness that are created by the Quiet Community. We sent children who couldn’t sleep because of their toothache to the dentist and we organised a birthday party for a boy who had been dreaming about it for eight years. But one of the most beautiful things is that you see people grow. They are no longer ashamed, they become more confident, they are no longer in debt and they feel that they belong to something”, says Esther.
In the picture, you see Esther Croes with a number of members and sponsors of the Quiet Community in Tilburg: Frozi Yogi, Happy Italy and De Burgerij.
Counter-arguments in Tilburg
Tilburg is the perfect location to roll out the Quiet Community. The people are very social and they are willing to listen to counter-arguments. The Piushaven especially is very Quiet-proof. People are joining as a group, they convey the message, they represent the social side. There are many networks or businesses that show their social values. It chimes with our current society.”
Funding in Tilburg is covered until 2019. Esther and her team have the ambition to grow the membership to 3500 members (1150 families) in Tilburg. On 17 October, 2017 (the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty), they will also roll out the Community in Maastricht, Groningen and Den Bosch. And four other cities are on the waiting list. Every city will have its own foundation and project team. “It is fantastic to see how far you can get with giving just a little. We are on the right track and we will continue until we can alleviate poverty on a national level. For that, we could use all the help we can get.”
The product can be seen as part of the exhibition 'Tilburg and its makers' at Hotel Mercure, Heuvelpoort 300, Tilburg.