Jos Bolder says: ‘I went from Volvo to the Food Bank’


ZEDDAM – That poverty is something that can happen to all of us, said Jos Bolder from Braamt on Saturday at a meeting in the common churches in Montferland. The lesson the participants learned is that it is important to always keep seeing the person

By Karin van der Velden

A ‘Bona man’, as Henriëtte Nieuwenhuis, a priest in the Protestant congregation’s-Heerenberg – Zeddam, calls Jos Bolder. “A man who has everything, as in the 1970s commercials. A man with a Volvo, a wife and three children. The perfect family life.”
“You forget, I had a dog too,” Jos adds. His life went well at first, although he had to work hard to pay for his architecture studies at TU Delft. “I drove a lot of taxis, so I got a lot of knowledge about people. That study period was also my first contact with poverty. ” While studying, he met his wife, after graduation they got married and had their first son. Jos ‘parents’ home in Terborg was chosen as a wonderful place to raise the children. Two more daughters were born.
“I had my own architectural firm and had many teaching positions. An exciting life with an ambitious woman, also with an academic background. We did the housework and the upbringing together. Every weekend we were busy, we also had a lot of social contacts. It turned out to be too much. I went to the doctor with skin problems. He told me it was a result of stress. He said: You are burnt out, you must stop working. Together with a lady from Social Work, I managed to cut the huge mountain to pieces. ”

Burnout and divorce
“In the beginning, there were no problems financially. I had a disability insurance and we could reasonably continue to live the life we ​​were used to. Unfortunately, my wife could not hold it up. The judge assigned me the care of the children. Three teenage children, the youngest was 9. It was difficult but not impossible. Unfortunately, there were some conflicts over the financial settlement of the divorce. I was awarded alimony, but at some point I had to pay it back. This was unexpected and unbalanced the precarious balance between revenue and expenditure. When I turned 60, the insurance also expired. I fell back on a WHZ benefit. Then I got colon cancer and a year and a half later also lymphoma. It did not help to get back into the workforce. ”

The debt kept piling up, and Jos was probably not restructured until 2026. “I have fallen through the ice of society. Society is focused on work and income. There are so many rules that ensure that someone who has no earned income no longer counts. Like victims of the unemployment benefit affair, one is confused in a system. At one point, the UWV decided I could go back to work for twenty hours. I could be the cleaning lady in a hotel. The computer could not even come with the male version. “
Jos also received a lot of support: “From my children, friends, the psychotherapist, the food bank and a social worker. The social work in Montferland municipality still helps me. What I had to do myself was to allow people to come in and accept help. Ultimately, you have to do it yourself. I feel like I’ve always been a human being. It is also the appeal to people concerned about poverty: Always keep seeing people. I’m not the specific example of people in poverty. I’m well worded and it helps. My advice to people experiencing something like this is to be open, not to encapsulate. You have to tell the people who will help you your story. ”

Stand up to poverty!
Before Jos Bolder told his story, Harrie Leijten, President of PCI H. Gabriël Parish, opened the meeting: “In the years to come, we want everyone to join ‘Stand up against Poverty!’ The villages and neighborhoods, the associations, the business community, politics, the schools, to make children aware of what poverty is. For it is a task for all of us. Poverty is not a shame. by the.”

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