The board receives no (financial) compensation.
Jan Henk Dubbink, Chairman. After two years of military training, I switched to medicine to be able to work in the field of global health. The post graduate training in Global Health and Tropical Medicine, a reproductive health affiliated PhD and clinical & research experience in Surinam, Aruba, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Uganda, and Sierra Leone gave me insight into the healthcare system of different countries. The iSTEPup foundation aims to strengthen basic health care in LMIC by donating knowledge and know-how rather than money. We believe the training of sufficient healthcare workers in their own countries is a sustainable longterm solution. Currently I am specializing in Family Medicine.
Nikki van der Velde, Secretary. I have had several opportunities to do internships abroad during my medicine study (a nursing internship in Aruba, gynecology/obstetrics and pediatrics internships in South Africa). These experiences have confirmed that I wanted to discover and learn more about healthcare systems in other, less developed countries. Following this experience, I did volunteer work in a hospital run by nuns in Cameroon. There I discovered the advantages and disadvantages of providing (temporary) international healthcare in a low-income country. Our foundation hopes to create continuity in projects in low and middle income countries by applying a different working method. Ultimately, we hope to improve the healthcare and equality among the population in those countries. Currently, I am working as a PhD-student in the departments of cardiology and radiology, and MD at the department of cardiology.
Nick Blok, Treasurer. As a student in business, I studied for 1 semester in South Africa. The inequality I observed there caused a radical change in my life; I decided to study medicine. During my study, I did research on children with Tuberculous Meningitis in Cape Town. After my study, I had the opportunity to work on tuberculosis projects and research for KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tajikistan and Vietnam. As a public health consultant, I saw the pros and cons of international health care. Together with the founders of iSTEPup, we have combined this knowledge and our strengths to set up a foundation that works in a sustainable and transparent way on basic health and equality for everyone. At this moment I am working as a general practitioner.
Janienke Lier, Social Media Manager. During my medicine study, I worked with various doctors who spent part of their careers on providing medical care abroad. From all stories it emerged that it often lacks financial resources to offer students a medical education and to constitute a better healthcare system. After finishing my study, I wanted to support others who did not have the same opportunities as I had to follow medical education. With iSTEPup I can support students with their medical training and contribute to improvement of healthcare in ‘low and middle income countries’. Currently, I am working as a PhD-student at the department of surgery, and as MD at the Intensive Care unit.
Dominique van Dongen, Fundraising Manager. As a military man, my father conducted several United Nations missions when I was a child and ever since, I have been aware of the unfair distribution of prosperity across the globe. The first time I saw that with own eyes was when I was 15 years old and visited Ethiopia with Edukans, an organization aiming to achieve good education in developing countries. After Ethiopia, visits to Kenia and Tanzania followed. I believe that good education is essential for lasting improvement of health and economy in developing countries. With iSTEPup I hope to support ambitious students with less opportunity in their education to become a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or midwife. That way, they can constitute a basis for better healthcare and economy in their environment. I recently finished my PhD in cardiology, and I am currently working as a cardiologist in training.
Bente Hagen, Student Manager. The first time I realized how unequally opportunities for education are divided around the world, was when I traveled through South-Africa in 2012. A few years later I got the opportunity to study medicine. An exceptional opportunity that many of us, in- and outside of Holland don’t get. Consequently, I wanted to do more than just study to become a doctor. During my studies I did a nursing internship in St Martin and I studied in Australia for one semester. The fact that these are two totally different destinations, made me realize I wanted to make an effort to improve health care in developing countries. I believe that strong healthcare systems are built with knowledge and so, originate from education. With iSTEPup we can create educational opportunities for ambitious students in order to improve health care in developing countries. Currently, I am working at the department of gynaecology.
Parmida Anvary, Student Manager. When I was six years old, I came to the Netherlands with my parents. My parents wanted to offer me more opportunities for the future compared to the opportunities they had in Iran. I still regularly return to my hometown of Tehran. Every time I see the children on the streets, it feels like I have to do something, even if it is just helping one child. Being born and living in a less prosperous country forces young people to work or in the worst case even beg for their basic necessities, while they don’t have the opportunity to go to school. When I heard about iSTEPup, I immediately knew I wanted to work for this foundation. Because of my emigration to the Netherlands, I have been given the privilege to study medicine, but unfortunately many young people do not have this opportunity due to financial circumstances. With iSTEPup I hope to be able to contribute to improving educational opportunities in countries that need it so much. My wish is to offer opportunities so that they too can develop into who they are and want to be. Through the work we do with iSTEPup, I hope they too can become what they might never have been able to do otherwise. At the moment, I am studying for a master’s degree in medicine.
Jonas Rosenstok. Having worked in the management of a Tanzanian partly donor-driven organisation for three years, my conclusion is that the direct support to ambitious youths wanting to continue their education has the most direct impact. At the time, we informally arranged that type of support for several young students and none of them disappointed. iSTEPup makes this model structurally available to more ambitious students and strengthens the networks of support for them. More than enough reason for me to support the iSTEPup foundation!
Koen Vliegenthart. Education is essential for the development of Africa. That is where the foundation is laid for knowledge, but especially awareness. Both are of great importance for the development of individuals who will determine the future of Africa and thus contribute to a more prosperous development of this continent. Sponsoring individual promising students is a good and very direct way to contribute to this.