The birth of an idea

Nicoline van Egmond and Helma van der Hoeven decided to travel to Romania to volunteer for two weeks. In Bucharest, they reached a building with strong odors. Its facade was almost entirely made out of metal. One could sense sadness and injustice. When they arrived, the kids were playing outside, poorly dressed, and they hadn’t showered in a long time.

When they started their duties, while arranging the donated clothes, they generated a small ambiance of warmth and connection. This experience deeply touched them and they went back to London with the idea of creating a foundation that can share with the children in most desperate need of assistance.


The idea takes shape

Helma leaves her job at the Stock Exchange and travels to Nepal at the beginning of the year to climb mountains and carry out some volunteering at the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (HRDC). This hospital treats children with bone malformations, burnings, and amputations. Her role was to accompany the children during surgical and rehabilitating procedures. Towards the end of the year, Nicoline and Helma, along with Simon Koert, officially register Daniëlle Children’s Fund in Holland. The foundation carries the name of Daniëlle, a beautiful, Dutch girl that tragically passed away when she was eleven years old. Her death led to a long process of finding sense, transforming human pain into faith, hope and love.

In 2002, together with Choodamani Poudel and Rajan Rai, they create a Nepali foundation, focused on giving disabled children access to rehabilitation and education. It then was expanded to children living in poverty in Nepal, to guarantee them the right and access to education.


Daniëlle Children’s Fund arrives in Ecuador

Later, Alex Vukajlovich joined, who, along with Simon, was in charge of opening doors for funding, while Nicoline and Helma were in charge of content and execution.

Javier Herrera, who had met Helma in the mountains in Nepal, invites her to climb the Cotopaxi. Later, they decide to develop DCF in the city of Ambato. The foundation acquires legal status in Ecuador in 2004, and Javier joins the General Assembly of DCF.


DCF enters the stream of systemic therapy and collaborative and dialogical practices.

The foundation already had three pillars in its philosophy: faith, hope and love. Together with the gained experience in Bucharest, Kathmandu, and Ambato. Helma decides to train in systemic therapy and collaborative and dialogical practices, which allows the foundation to grasp that the challenges that children and families face are not black and white, but much more complex. For the appropriation of the postmodern philosophy, DCF received help from Diego Tapia, who trained and accompanied the teams, and helped the foundation believe more in Social Constructionism and Collaborative and Dialogical Practices.


DCF experiences the joint of institutional foster care, indoors.

In this stage, DCF acquires a house in Ambato to serve as headquarters, where children in situations of high risk, receive institutional care. Here, they share work and facilities with the Clarita Luz Foundation. Hearing that the children were crying at night calling for their mothers, an important process of transformation began, where institutional care was questioned as a child protection measure. Ideas were born to start programs that support parents taking care of their children. The alliance with the Clarita Luz Foundation is suspended.


The family support program is born

Within DCF, the program of Systemic Family Services (Family Support) is born to support children and adolescents in situations of violation of their rights, together with their families. Two volunteers play a key role, Ine Martens and Barbara van der Heiden, contributing with their hearts and work experience.


DCF leaving a mark

From 2010 to 2020, the team at DCF has accompanied approximately 9.000 direct people in therapeutic and social processes. Children, adolescents, and their families in risk situations being the ones that used our services. 2013: Elizabeth Arias joins the foundation and takes responsibility for the administrative area, guaranteeing the continuation of transparency and structure.


DCF spreads and shares its know-how

Since 2014, DCF offers spaces for training for the Local Child Protection System of Tungurahua, which includes public protection entities and NGOs specialized in institutional care and family reinsertion. Up until 2020, 34.000 people, including children, adolescents, and their families, were directly impacted.

Diego Poma assumes leadership to co-construct together new realities with the children, adolescents, and their families.

2013 – 2016

DCF prepares and implements a pilot program of foster care in Ecuador.

DCF develops a methodology for foster care and implements it, initially in Ambato (2014), spreading the coverage to zone 3 (Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi).

2015: 2015: DCF transfers the methodology behind foster care and offers training and technical advisory during the implementation of a pilot program of foster care in the provinces of Guayas and Ibarra.

This process is accompanied by Estibaliz Sandoval and Tania López.


Transfer from Ambato to Quito

DCF manages to close all of its processes of child institutionalization and transfers to Quito to influence public policies related to child protection. This decision marked the before and after of the foundation. The duty began in the parish of Pifo, northwest of the city of Quito, starting a dream like the one in Ambato, but now with more clarity of the path to be taken.


Earthquake 16A Ecuador

Ecuador experiences a natural catastrophe (earthquake) that left many dead and wounded. The DCF team travels to the most affected areas and offers social and psychological support as well as community strengthening, for eight months, mainly in Canoa. It was an unforgettable experience.


DCF leads in the co-creation of the Red Convivencia Ecuador for the co-construction of public policies with the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion.

Daniëlle Children’s Fund Ecuador and other organizations, together with UNICEF, make up the RED CONVIVENCIA ECUADOR that promotes a space of dialogue, participation, exchange of experiences, training, and technical accompaniment for the co-construction of public policies necessary to promote and guarantee the rights of children and adolescents to live with their families and communities. DCF is part of the coordinating team of the network and assumes a very active role in the planning and execution of all of its activities.


The human mobility program is born

Due to the political and economic situation of their country, many people from Venezuela have to migrate. Amongst them, many non-accompanied adolescents. The Human Mobility program is born, in cooperation with UNICEF. Professional teams provide care to the migrant adolescents at the Casa de Paso and Casa de Autonomía. In 2019, Martha Ramos joins the team, supporting the structure of the program.

2018 – 2021

Alternative family and Community based care is implemented as public policy in Ecuador.

Two new members join our General Assembly: Lydia Vereschildt, who accompanies the operative team in family support and community strengthening, and Patricia Herrmann, who accompanies us in the legal area.

DCF works with the Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion and UNICEF in the design and implementation of Alternative Family and Community Based Care, such as family support, kinship, and foster care. Poema Carrión, ex-director of MIES, joins the DCF team. In 2020, a proposal for legal reforms and a handbook for institutional care is developed. The design of a new service that accompanies young people starts. Parallel to that, the co-construction of the National Strategy of Deinstitutionalization of children and adolescents is initiated.

“DCF has been and still is, a foundation with many dreams and hopes, which co-creates new realities. It is a dynamic institution that innovates every year and seeks for more children and adolescents to live with their families, the place they deserve and belong to.”

Diego Poma – Director/Coach DCF