With Schoolspullenpas, students from poor families can buy school supplies worth 50 euros from stores such as Hema, Bruna and Actiesport. The passes are distributed by local aid organizations and paid for from donations.
This passage arose when the Poverty Fund received signals that the list of school supplies that children needed at the start of the year could not be afforded by more and more families. With this help, the fund wants to prevent children from low-income families from starting the school year with a backlog.
The number of families using Schoolspullenpas is growing every year. In 2020, 10,246 children were assisted by obtaining the permit. This year there are more than 16,000. The Poverty Fund expects demand will only increase.
“Poverty is on the rise,” points out Sam van Allebeek of the Poverty Fund. “The pressure on relief organizations is increasing. We can meet the demand, but we depend on donations.”
The permit is not only for families on social welfare, but also for help for low-income people, like Wendy’s family from Nijmegen. Wendy’s husband works, but due to her son’s illness she does not have a job of her own. With only her husband’s income, they do not have enough to buy school supplies for their 9-year-old twins.
Wendy is very happy with the pass. “It’s so cute,” she says. “They are for school supplies like pens and notebooks, but you can also use them to buy sports shoes and sportswear, for example.” And that’s convenient. “My son already had a gym today. The sneakers became very expensive, and soon a pair of simple sneakers cost €25.”
The card acts as a kind of gift card. “It’s a green card, with which you can pay at the cash register, but you can only buy things for school,” says Wendy.
Not only is the card a godsend for Wendy, her twins are excited too. “The kids were happy. We usually have to take care of the money. It’s nice to say, ‘Just find something you like.'”
Then her children searched for the necessary school supplies themselves. “Well, you have two very happy faces,” she says.
Wendy obtained the permit through the Nijmegen Vincentius Association, a voluntary association in the field of social services. “They do so much for the less fortunate,” says Wendy. “For example, they also have a 50-cent store with clothes and toys. I pass by there regularly. We are so grateful to have such establishments.”
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