To find out, I visited a Sanjuro Martial Arts class in North London to meet Glenn, Anita and the young people they work with. After a tour of Bruce Grove Youth Club, I watched the disability group in action – and wow, it was active! There was no let-up in the energy and focus of the class. From the parents and carers, I heard how important the group was in developing confidence and physicality. The young students from an earlier class joined in, demonstrating Sanjuro’s emphasis on helping each other. They helped me too, when my spelling skills failed!
A week later, I was at the JC Dragon’s Heart Europe Community Centre (House Madelief) in Hoogvliet. Kitty and her friendly team made me very welcome – and even persuaded me to join in a tai chi class with Olympic coach Chris de Korte. Madelief Huis feels like a family home – an inviting, cheerful place that provides activities and company for isolated elders. The local community can pick up second-hand bargains at the Centre, which encourages a mix of all ages. I was very tempted by the paintings and the records – next time I will take a larger bag.
I’ve learnt you don’t need the skills of Jackie Chan to have a Dragon’s Heart. Just courage, compassion and the determination to take on a challenge – whether martial arts in a wheelchair or meeting a new neighbour. We can all inspire and support others, in great ways and small. That’s our Dragon Hearts beating.
This is a translation of an article that appeared in The Botlek in Rotterdam
Last month, Catherine Johnson in her role as Patron of Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe went to Hoogvliet, Rotterdam at the request of President, Kitty Engelmoer, to visit the Huis Madelief project set up by the Charity.
This is a project for elderly people who live independently and have little or no social contact. The Charity invite these people to spend time with each other in the recently-opened JC Dragon’s Heart’s Europe Community Centre in Hoogvliet, Rotterdam. To fund the get-togethers and activities, the Charity organises flea markets and small markets full of fun and cheap items. When Catherine was told about this, she instantly said that she would like to see it.
Catherine writes for the theatre and film in England. Her biggest hit is the musical Mamma Mia! She wrote the story and produced the musical together with Bjorn and Bennie from ABBA, says Kitty Engelmoer. Kitty is also trying to bring the famous movie star Jackie Chan to Hoogvliet.
In a recent interview for The Botlek, Catherine said, “I have lived in Bristol since I was 5 years old and knew that I wanted to be a writer when I was older. At a young age, I won prizes and I still take great pleasure in writing.
A special experience for me was a TV series called, ‘Love in the 21st Century’ which is now no longer shown on television but at the time played a major role in the sexual liberation of women … a lot different from a cheerful singalong film like Mamma Mia!’
She says that she still finds it ‘awesome’ that she has worked with 007 Pierce Brosnan!
Catherine meets Ambassador, Chris de Korte
We would like to thank Catherine for taking the time out from her busy schedule to visit Hoogvliet and meet with some of the elderly people and the volunteers.
Recently we attended the end of year certificate presentation at Sanjuro Martial Arts Club in London. On this occasion, we were delighted to be joined by our recently appointed patron, Catherine Johnson.
Catherine took charge of the certificates, writing in each young person’s name on their certificate (no mean feat with around 50 to get through!) before presenting it to them.
Food and soft drinks were available for everyone and the youngsters also got to choose a special gift from the charity which had been donated by Jackie.
It was a great evening, thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike!
Here are some photos from the evening.
We would like to thank Catherine for taking the time to visit Sanjuro, presenting the certificates and interacting with the young people. We know it was very much appreciated!
The latest video on our project in north London – Sanjuro Martial Arts. You can see how much the young people are enjoying the class. If you would like to help this class to continue, please consider supporting us by making a donation. Thank you.
We recently received the following from Sean Jones, Executive Director at The Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP). Emmanuel was featured in our original write-up on the ROP in 2012.
“Emmanuel joined ROP’s Imizi Children’s Centre in Rwanda when he was only five years old. This was around the same time that Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe charity began its partnership with ROP, helping us to provide our former street children with quality primary education. At the time, Emmanuel was the youngest child to join the Imizi program, and he started school in grade 1.
Each and every year, Emmanuel worked as hard as he could in the classroom, and as a result he was almost always at the top of his class at the end of the term. All of his fellow classmates looked up to him as an example of what hard work and enthusiasm can achieve.
Today, six years later, Emmanuel has nearly completed his first year of secondary school, and once again he has risen to the challenge by being one of the top scoring students at his new boarding school. Whilst we are very proud of Emmanuel’s achievements, we are also very proud of the fact that, after years of hard work from our team of social workers, we have been able to rebuild the relationship Emmanuel had with his former estranged aunt.
Emmanuel ran away to the streets because his aunt was abusive and negligent towards him when he was younger, but today they have a very positive relationship and Emmanuel goes to visit her in between school terms. ROP has also helped his aunt to start a small business selling fish at the local market, so she is now able to take better care of her own children as well.
It is thanks to the support of our partners, like Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe, that we have been able to change Emmanuel’s life, and the life of so many other vulnerable children from all over Rwanda.”
We are delighted that Emmanuel is doing so well, and would like to thank Sean for his update.
We are so excited to announce that on 14 October 2017, the JC Dragon’s Heart Europe Community Centre, and home to the ‘Huis Madelief’ project, was opened in Hoogvliet, Rotterdam.
The official opening was performed by Kitty Engelmoer (President of the Dragon’s Heart Europe charity), Janny Heine, Regina Bussing and Edwin Smid, who is Chairman of the local council. Edwin expressed his appreciation stating that such facilities in the neighbourhood are of vital importance where people can meet, make friends and find help if they need it. Kitty thanked her volunteers stating that without them, it would not have been possible.
As well as hosting the ‘Huis Madelief’ project, the Community Centre is available to hire throughout the day/evening Monday-Friday. Among the groups already meeting there are a computer club and tai chi group. There is also a recycling programme where people are welcome to bring their unwanted items … and perhaps buy something they do want! Sun beds are also available to hire.
As the opening of the Centre was such an auspicious occasion, board members from Germany and the UK travelled to Rotterdam to join in the celebrations.
“For the charity, this is a big step forward,” said Jane. “We are now receiving income we can use for our projects.” They were pleased to see that there was so much interest in the opening. “This shows the importance to the environment.”
This is the first official Dragon’s Heart Community Centre in the world
Chris Jones, a full-time martial arts instructor with his own school in North Yorkshire (www.chrisjonesmartialarts.moonfruit.com), and a dedicated Dragon’s Heart supporter has come up with a great idea to promote our charity.
Having sought our permission, he has used our logo on the sleeve of his polo tops. What a great initiative!
Many thanks Chris for the extra bit of advertising.
Between the 7th and 12th July 2017, a tour was organised by Spanish Jackie Chan fan, Antonio Ramírez Santandreu (Jackie Chan Spain) to visit locations in and around Madrid and Barcelona that were used in the films Wheels on Meals and Armour of God II: Operation Condor, along with other places of cultural interest.
The tour was a great success and was attended by fans from the following countries – Chile, England, Estonia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Spain and Uzbekistan.
During the tour, one of the many fun events that took place was a charity auction which was hosted by Silke. Items for the auction were donated by the fans and The JC Group. These included collectors magazines, JC socks, action figure dolls, posters and other rare items. Over 700 Euros was raised from the auction and more has also been donated.
We at Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe would like to thank Antonio for organising this tour, and all the fans who attended and contributed to making this a great event.
Finally, we would also like to thank the sponsors: Zafiro Hotels, Norma Comics, Glups and SelectaVisión.