A new challenge

Posted May 29th, 2012 in Personal Fre by Frérieke

1.5 km swim
40 km cycle
10 km run

I’ll be doing the Amsterdam triathlon 17th June 2012.
Follow my training scheme HERE

Please support me by sponsoring to this cause to empower girls in Brazil to get a job certificate

Click here if you want to support me from outside of The Netherlands!


A new life, a different story

Posted November 1st, 2010 in development, Personal Fre by Frérieke

I miss Africa, that’s for sure. “What do you miss most?” people often ask. My students. The youngsters. The ones that gave me my direction in life, the ones living in harsh conditions AND having lots of hope. I miss working on the media project with them, hearing their voices, getting inspired. I miss working on diversity. What I miss most is the direct contact and immediate results that could be seen in Africa.

A new life, a different story. I now work for Plan, an international non-profit organization, making a big impact worldwide, ensuring childrights. Working in an office in The Netherlands could make me forget what I am working for. Today though I watched our new international video, which created a smile on my face, goosebumps on my arms…it is a great privilegde to work on those issues on a daily base, to be able to live my passions and create a life in The Netherlands which goes way beyond what I thought it would be like..

The youngsters here in The Netherlands are inspiring too! Lots of young girls have been volunteering in the events I organized last month. I am looking forward to connecting my African young friends with my new Dutch young friends. Innovation, technology, media…still great passions of mine and great tools to facilitate the connection!

Will I go back to Africa? …who knows?

I used to live from 6 months to 6 months…afraid to loose my freedom… I didn’t want to add any kind of structure to my life…and now? I am able to deal with that fear and feel I do not have to limit myself. I have really found what I love working on and who knows living in The Netherlands for the coming 2 years might fit in with that vision?

Yo Frerieke became Fréminded!

Posted May 12th, 2010 in Personal Fre by Frérieke

It is not perfect yet… and never will be..

but enjoy what there is to see so far. And drop me a note if you like it (or not)

I skipped an invitation of Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) to come wine tasting, to finish this proposal…

Posted April 13th, 2009 in Personal Fre, South Africa by Frérieke

Day 103_ Money for Africa

By Frerieke van Bree

So glad!

The NCDO (= Dutch Government sponsored funder – www.ncdo.nl) wants to support the Students project here in Africa with 16.580 Euro!

Our fund application receives more and more positive responses…
Besides the NCDO, also The Dutch organization KICI (www.kici.nl) has donated 5.000 Euro. The Dutch ‘Stichting Projecten Zuid-Afrika’ has required more information and will get back to us the end of April.

There is one big ‘BUT’….NCDO will only sponsor the 16.580 Euro when we are able to match it!

Our 16.580 euro is partly covered by the 5.000 Euro from KICI and 1.000 Euro from our great friends Rolf & Klaar (Dutch). We have to raise another 10.580 Euro…YES that is a lot! AND…nothing is impossible…

What are we raising money for? Materials and training: Leadership training to teach students (14-18 years) to know how great they are and what a difference they can make for their own community. The students get trained to use modern technologies (digital camera’s, mobile phones, laptops) to source stories in their communities and publish them online on the http://studentsforhumanity.com website in order to connect with students and donors overseas.

Would you like to know more?
Email us: stichtingumeebee@gmail.com

Would you like to make a donation?
ONLINE via paypal or via our Dutch bankaccount

Read below the testimonial of Rolf, one of our donors…

Last February 2009, we (Klaar and myself) were invited by Frerieke to visit the COSAT school in Khayelitsha.

We were impressed by the spirit and motivation of not only the students but the staff as well! This visit made us see that despite the difficulties and harsh conditions in the townships, there are so many inspired people that want to make a difference!

We are more then happy to give some financial support to an initiative that helps to make this change for the better! Compared to the big organizations, they might not have the fancy brochures, big fundraising campaigns and large projects, but what they do comes right from the heart and maybe they even have more passion and devotion since they are in direct touch with the people!

After all, we are all more or less the same when we are born. But some (like us) are lucky to have a protected childhood and get an education, allowing them to get a job, house and a comfortable life. This while others face problems from day one. That difference does not make sense at all.

For us an amount of money not spent on a new surfboard, television or a vacation, but after all these things would not really make a difference in our lives. But it might just be the money that allows someone else to experience and learn things that might make the difference in his life!

A trip to heaven..

Posted January 21st, 2009 in Personal Fre by Frérieke

Day 21_ Krista R.I.P.

goede reis, je hebt nu geen gewicht
ga sneller dan het licht
de planeten zingen zacht van het wonder dat je wacht
kijk niet om en ga steeds vooruit

(text Spinvis song: Astronaut)

31 years. Krista, my second cousin. She didn’t wait for a cancer to enjoy life…

This lady has been a lot in my mind the last few days. (or actually few months)

We were not just born on the same day…we shared a lot of passions for people, travel, Spanish, salsa, .. >> I’ll make sure your enthusiasm lives on! Love Ya Krista!

B’day and things..

Posted January 8th, 2009 in Personal Fre by Frérieke
A few things:2008 was a bad personal blogging year. Shall I still continue?
yeah, I’ve got plans. Did you check out my new homepage? Integrated Flickr (photo album) and Twitter (multi user messaging/blogging tool) Follow me here: flickr
or here: twitter

yes, it is this time of the year 11.1.81 > B’day time
Everybody in Cape Town: Edith (10.1.81) and I are celebrating at Jamaican me crazy (Roodebloem, Woodstock) from 19.30 on Sat 10.1.09. Come join us for a drink!

NO presents needed! Please if you want to give something (other then a big hug)
donate to my account: (I need to save money to replace my dying laptop)

fj van bree 9169749182
br code 632005 (ABSA)

fj van Bree

paypal: freriekevanbree at hotmail.com (replace at with @)

OR donate to the projects! (check out http://lovetotheworld.org)

stichting Umeebee

paypal: freriekevanbree at hotmail.com (replace at with @)

(please note what you want to donate to)

On a sad note..
I’ve got a great second cousin who is sharing her B’day with me. She is going through a serious difficult time of her life. She has been diagnosed with cancer….unfortunately the doctors aren’t able to help her… another young person facing the end of this earhtly life. Krista, all love and blessings for you. You demonstrate what ‘enjoying life and travel’ means. you inspire many of us! I hope your energy is there to enjoy this day 31 years ago you were born…

HOW TO: technology and implementation

Posted November 23rd, 2008 in development, Personal Fre, South Africa, Technology & Innovation by Frérieke
How to: technology-and-implementation
Techie is a term, derivative of the word technology, for a person who displays a great, sometimes even obsessive, interest in technology, high-tech devices, and particularly computers. (source: Wikipedia)
The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as “a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things. (source:Wikipedia)

by Frerieke van Bree

I don’t consider myself a real ‘techie’, but I do have a strong passion for technology.
And although the word ‘geek’ is often used in obsessive computer/technology/connectivity situations, looking at the explanation on Wikipedia makes me think: Yes I am a geek. A big one. I am obsessed with combining my passions (humanity, technology, design, leadership). I am a people loving-passion following-intercultural connecting-voices facilitating and human empowering GEEK.

Last year I attended the Web of Change conference in Canada. Being among some of the brightest web focused changemakers from The States and Canada was extraordinary. People like Peter Deitz, Marc Laporte, Michael Silberman and many others inspired me to hold on to the thought that technology can make a difference in the lives of many underprivileged people. Attending the (mostly white) Wordcamp South Africa (a gathering of fans of the open source blogging software WordPress ) opened my eyes to how big the gap between technology implementation in the privileged (mostly white) and implementation and usage in the underprivileged (mostly black/colored) communities is.
Recently I visited MobileActive08 in Johannesburg. A (to me) very inspiring, but also overwhelming mix of geeks, techies (including Google, Microsoft,..), funders and implementers, who all  make a difference in the world through mobile technology. I was blown away by what is already being done with the mobile phone in the developing world. A few personal highlights: meeting Erik Hersman and getting to know the crisis report enabling Ushahidi and listening to Guy Berger and his Journalism project The News is Coming in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Being at those conferences made me feel like being back at University. Our faculty of Architecture was considered to be the ‘soft’ faculty of the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands, other faculties used to make jokes about the ‘cut and glue’ course we were attending. The 80% male-20% female rate in Delft, being the only girl on our Windsurf association board, living with 4 bright men in a house…it all made me feel like a black sheep in a world of Men and Technology. And after university it was: being a woman in the building industry, being a woman in a (unfortunately still!) predominantly white-male dominated South African society and now I ‘torture’ myself with….visiting technology conferences…

My insecurity at conferences tells me: What am I doing here? Where’s my IPhone/blackberry/apple computer? How do I talk tech? How on earth do I catch up with all knowledge in this audience? It is like being back at University…..I don’t belong here.

Fortunately, my secure and balanced me says: does it matter? My vision is clear, my passion is big.
Go and explore girl, make those connections, learn as much as possible.

Major Non-profit organizations have their own Technology consultant on board and come up with the most creative and innovative uses of technology on the ground. Great. But….
I wonder: How to get the message of what is possible with technology out to the many “heroes in underprivileged communities”??? How to hear the needs and ideas of young brights minds in the developing world??? How to empower Africans by African ingenuity??? How to have Africans say NO to the brain drain? How to have Africa really be in the hands of Africans!!

I enjoyed reading Ethan Zuckermans words on bridge figures {…we need bridge figures, people who can help build connections between cultures. We need xenophiles, people who are interested in the whole world and in building conversations that break out of the homophily trap.}

If people ask me what my secret skill in life is I say I am a connector and facilitator. I facilitate a space where the one can meet the other, where people from The developed West meet the poor South, young meet old, You meet Them, They meet YOU and YOU get to know YOURSELF. I facilitate a space of no judgement, listening and curiosity. A space of fun! and smiles 🙂

Back to the title of this blog post: {How To: technology and implementation}

How to improve the implementation of Technology in order to eradicate poverty/empower the underprivileged/bridge the implementation gap?
My two cents…

  • Improve the language of technology: right now it is too techie and not easy accessible for all. It can not be read/reached by the communities on the ground that know best what is needed in their village.
  • Include (underprivileged) youngsters!! The bright minds of the future should be included in the conversation of today! Let them be inspired and generate ideas!
  • Support bridge figures! Give them a feeling of -belonging- in the world of Men and Tech! Create (more) scholarships for fancy conferences!!

I am so happy that I was able to step over my own foolish insecurity and explore and exchange at the above mentioned conferences. Great things come out as a result! Me being the connector enables underprivileged students from Khayelitsha to become mobile reporters on Afrigadget !!!

I promise I will never doubt the impact I am making in the world and the fact that I matter…
I have experienced a shift from ‘not belonging’ to a ‘knowing who I am and what my passion and purpose in life is’
Being a bridge is the best! Thanks COSAT learners! And thanks you Tech-savvy global inhabitants!

1 1 1 1

Posted November 11th, 2008 in Personal Fre by Frérieke
1 1 1 1

i have to write a blogpost today, 11/11
there is something going on with numbers over here!

today 11/11 I coincidentally looked at my mobile-phone-time at exactly 11hr11

last week I sketched some new ideas for my website in my sketchbook..
fre(e)minded connected with 1111
why? because that’s me!

Born 11/1/81

South African Dance!

Posted October 3rd, 2008 in Leadership Academy, Personal Fre by Frerieke

Love to the World

By Frerieke

Today, after my wonderful Free WI-FI Friday (the school is on holiday, so no teaching today), after my 2km swim, right there in the sauna of the gym…right there… I just got it….. I really got it…… >> I LOVE PEOPLE. Swimming is my meditation.. I don’t think, just become one with the water and enjoy.

The sauna……the sauna is the place where i start talking to my inner self, the place where i connect with my own mission/vision!

Today, the conversation went like this: “Fre, why do you do what you do? Why love to the world? Why transformation in Africa? Why ‘making a difference’? Are you doing it because you want to be liked? Show of how good you take care of others? Be ‘interesting’ by being different then your friends in the Netherlands? (Haha, lucky me: today the sauna was empty so I could actually say those words out loud..)

And you know what…as much as I wanted to scream: NO I don’t do this work for me….. I actually couldn’t. To be honest… yeah I am doing it for me. I choose the life I am living here in Africa. I choose to be liked, measured by the amount of care for others or ‘the difference I make in a persons life’. (yep..rather this then being liked because of my money, or being liked because I force you to like me)

So my next question to myself was: “Aha you selfish bitch, so what do you really give and how much would you give if there wasn’t anything in it for you?” That is a freaky question. Then I remembered all the great feedback on our website from our students, how much our work matters to them…. and I wondered: the students satisfaction, is that just an extra to my own fulfillment?”And then it came to me… Fre, you love people.

I believe in the goodness of man kind, even the guy attacking me. I believe in people and i believe that each voice matters! And hell yeah…I’ll spend my entire life making sure you all feel loved! And hey… it is such a great ‘extra’ that you’ll like me for it.

The COSAT students > oh yeah do I love them! Creative, eagerness to learn, care for each other and community, the stand in life they take…. To be really honest with you? Nelson Mandela will have some great competition!

The dance of life is magical…

… Talking about dancing….. Please enjoy this video that one of the students made! South African dance!

one of my many faces

Posted December 13th, 2005 in Personal Fre, Theater by Frérieke
Microtheater Delft, 2001