Dutch lottery awards 2.2 million euros to UNHCR project in Sierra Leone

News Stories, 30 January 2004

© NPL/Roy Beusker
Dutch Postcode Lottery's Boudewijn Poelmann (left) handing over a symbolic cheque for the Sierra Leone project to Tineke Ceelen of Stichting Vluchteling and UNHCR's Anne-Willem Bijleveld.

AALSMEER, Netherlands, Jan 30 (UNHCR) In a show of support to the UN refugee agency's work, the National Postcode Lottery on Thursday awarded 2,212,500 euros to a joint project in Sierra Leone of UNHCR and its major Dutch NGO partner, Stichting Vluchteling (the Dutch Refugee Foundation).

UNHCR's Director of Communication and Information, Anne-Willem Bijleveld, and director Tineke Ceelen of Stichting Vluchteling jointly received a symbolic cheque from NPL director Boudewijn Poelmann at the lottery's yearly "Good Money Gala" in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands. In addition, as a beneficiary of the NPL, UNHCR received an unearmarked contribution of 1 million euros.

The National Postcode Lottery is the top private fundraiser for charity in the Netherlands. Last year it saw a 7 percent growth, allowing a total of 217 million euros to be donated to its 45 beneficiaries.

The joint project with Stichting Vluchteling aims at helping Sierra Leonean refugees reintegrate in their country, as well as supporting Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone. Since late 2000, close to a quarter of a million Sierra Leoneans have returned home from countries in the region with the help of UNHCR.

"Thanks to the support of the National Postcode Lottery, we will be able to empower refugees, returnees and local communities to become agents of development", said Bijleveld.

The joint project also underlines the close collaboration between UNHCR and Stichting Vluchteling. Created over a quarter of a century ago as an independent organization by a former UNHCR representative in the Netherlands, Cees Brouwer, Stichting Vluchteling is the main NGO in the Netherlands for raising funds and awareness for refugees worldwide.