Heading towards Ireland
A homeschooling family looking for a new home country...
We are Paul and Patricia Kamp, we have 6 great kids and we're from The Netherlands. We're a practicing, Roman Catholic family, faithful to Church teaching and we've been homeschooling for 8 years.
Homeschooling is under attack in The Netherlands, especially in the city of Rotterdam, where we live. The local government simply wants every child to go to public school and is doing everything within it's power to make this happen.
The situation is actually so threatening, that we may have to leave our country
within a couple of weeks from now (January, 2016).
Imagine that. We are about to become 'refugees' from The Netherlands!
We're hoping to find a new home in Ireland.
What can you do to help us?
Of course, we're not just needy people. Actually, we have a lot to offer to your parish, your community and your country...! So this is not just an appeal for help. It's also an open application.
What is happening with homeschooling in The Netherlands?
The legal status of homeschooling in our country is a bit different from what it is in Ireland and the UK. Officially, there is no homeschooling in The Netherlands. Attending school is mandatory. However, the law provides an exception for children whose parents can't find a school nearby that matches their religious beliefs.
A young and ambitious local politician has made it his personal goal to end homeschooling in Rotterdam. He can't do this directly, since the law hasn't changed. However, there are plenty of things he can do to obstruct and intimidate us.
Without getting too technical, he wants a civil servant to inquire about our religious beliefs (yes, you read that correctly) and impose a form of supervision on homeschooling families without any legal boundaries. Complying with this, would leave us very vulnerable. It's not clear what requirements we'd have to meet and the people investigating us are not qualified for it. Given the fact that the local government wants to get rid of homeschooling, you'll understand that we've been firmly resisting this 'new policy'.
For a year now, all of the 15 families in Rotterdam have been fighting back. We've received help from local and national politicians, advisors and attorneys, but nothing seems to work. The situation is continuing to worsen.
On Friday, January 8th, 2016 we received a letter from the local government telling us they will report all of the homeschoolers to Child Protective Services.
Our crime is simply following the law.
If this fight was just a legal one, we'd be willing to continue and spend our time, effort and money on it. However, now that our children are being involved, they've crossed the line.
We've made the decision to leave our country and we may have to leave very soon. Our family, our Catholic Faith and our right as parents to choose the best education for our children are simply too important!
The work that we do
We have opened our house and adjacent hall for the children of our neighbourhood. About 140 kids visit our youth activities every week: here they find a place to play, to learn, be loved and hear the Gospel! We reach out to them and their families and provide help where needed (clothes, food and more). Most of the children are immigrants from Somalia, Turkey, Morocco and the Dutch Antilles.
Three times a week we receive a large group of kids (40-80) between the ages of 3 and 16 years old. Another important part of our work is visiting moms, helping them sort out their problems and supporting them in raising their children.
Finance, faith, future
We met each other through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and for years we have been actively participating in the work of the Renewal. In recent years, we have learned to appreciate a more traditional way of worship and Catholic contemplative life and hope to continue to grow in that.
Right now we're facing a huge challenge. This way of living can be both a blessing and a problem. We are confident that a large group of people will continue to support us in the coming months. If we can find a way to continue doing the same kind of work in another country, our benefactors may keep supporting us like they've been doing all these years. Of course we do not know this for sure, but we trust in God who is our provider.
What do we need?
We've been living in a rough part of town, where our children could only play around our house. For them it's important to find a place to live in a more quiet neighbourhood.
We need new friends! Catholic friends! Our children will need to feel welcome. We need people who can help us get back on our feet.
We would prefer to live somewhere in Ireland within an hour drive from an airport.
What can we do for you?
We would love to continue working in and for the Church. Whether it's in the area of youth work, social work, music, formation, evangelization... We can make a contribution to your parish.
Our oldest daughters love to dance and sing and play music and have a talent for it as well. Our 9 year old son loves to play soccer and our younger children are just the cutest...
If you're interested in getting to know us,
if you have job or a house for us,
or if you know people we should talk to, please contact us: