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.
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.
Since House Madelief opened in September 2014, it has become a warm and friendly place for elderly people who are alone and have little or no social contacts.
A wide range of activities are organised from movie and music mornings to playing games and being creative making Easter ornaments and Christmas cards. We have had fashion shows and wellness mornings, and not forgetting our Tai Chi mornings. Our outings are also a big success. – we have been on a boat trip along the river Maas in Rotterdam, a trip to a museum in a old fashioned American school bus, a visit to the Christmas market and our annual dinner parties.
Because of our growing popularity we had to hold our New Year’s party at a bigger venue as both the Tuesday morning and the Thursday morning groups wanted to attend. The Handball Club ETC in Hoogvliet very kindly let us use their facilities. After coffee and cake, Edwin Smid, Chairman of Commission Hoogvliet, delivered a very heartwarming speech reflecting on 2016, at the end of which glasses were raised to toast the New Year. A slide show was shown with photos of all the activities that had taken place in 2016. Then a delicious lunch was served courtesy of our very dear friends, Kees and Ksenija van Meijeren. The musical entertainment was provided by Elly Bezemer.
We would like to thank our volunteers who make all these activities possible.
New activities are being planned so stay tuned! We will update regularly.
If you live in Hoogvliet (or indeed Rotterdam) and are alone and need some company, please come and visit us at House Madelief, you’ll be very welcome!
For more information, please contact:
Kitty Engelmoer, Foundation President of Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe,
telephone no. 06-10376511, email: email@example.com
Lies vd Perk-Zondag, Coordinator, telephone no. 010-4166831
Recently Jane & Ben went back to visit St Luke’s Community Centre to see how the Sanjuro exercise/mobility classes have been going.
They got to meet and catch up with those participating and joined in both parts of the class. It was great to see and hear how much members enjoyed the classes as well as how much it they found it beneficial.
Sadly this was the last class but we at Dragon’s Heart Europe and our partners Sanjuro hope to be able to come back and hold more classes soon.
We are pleased to announce the start of a new project in the UK offering free weekly exercise and mobility classes for the over 55s. These classes will take place at St Luke’s Community Centre in London on a Tuesday morning, between 11am and 12noon.
The project is being delivered by Sanjuro Martial Arts Training Systems, who recently won the Club of the Year Award presented to them by Sport London.
Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe is delighted to be able to offer this new venture for the over 55s and would like to thank Sanjuro Martial Arts for agreeing to become involved.
If you (or you know of anyone) are interested, please contact Anita Yiannoullou on 07973 571 921 for further details.