Peace Education

Your Concern Is Our Concern

On April 10, UPF-NL hosted a talk by Sentinelzorg director Henna Linger on the theme "Uw zorg, wordt onze zorg" ("Your concern is our concern"). UPF-NL Secretary General Wim Koetsier gave an introduction to the Universal Peace Federation.

UPF's first assertion, he said, was that mankind was one family, with one creator. We should seek universal values and follow the Golden Rule of "doing unto others as we would like to be done to us." The first principle that followed from this was that we should live for others, like the cells that serve the whole body. We needed to think what was best for society. Some people said religion caused conflict, but atheistic communist China disputed with atheistic communist Vietnam over fishing rights and sunk a fishing boat. One would not expect comrades to shoot on each other.

Without religion, Wim Kostier continued, the conflict is still there, because it is in ourselves. Therefore, religion can be positive: while Martin Luther King, Jr., was admired for his social activism, he was driven by his spiritual convictions. Following a fire caused by misuse of fireworks, a severe law was passed limiting their use, but if we lived morally, so much legislation would not be necessary. Jesus taught us to forgive our enemies and the world benefited from the World War II victors helping the defeated nations recover. We need trauma experts, etc., but recovery from trauma should be easier if one was surrounded by family and friends

Henna Linger is an Ambassador for Peace and has attended the European Leadership Conference. She came to the Netherlands from Suriname back in 1968, went through the education system, then lived in Switzerland for eight years and studied French literature. She hass been a civil servant, secretary, and social worker and founded Sentinelzorg so she could help people in holistic way without being bound by bureacracy. "My heart is with people, not the office," she says.

Henna employs 12 people and brought a young trainee, Nadia, with her to operate her slldeshow. Nadia is a Moslem and later said she had never experienced such a natural mix of people from different religions.

Henna's talk stimulated a lot of interest and praise. She seemed to understand the wisdom of "less is more."

It became clearer in discussion how much she truly helps clients in their contacts with government and other agencies, whom she says call her a 'pit bull.' She seems rather motherly, with a soft heart, but lionesses protect their young with ferocity.

The word Sentinelzog combines the French sentinel (people's guardian) and Dutch zorg (care). One woman commented "thank God you are in Zuid Oost, one of the more problematic areas of the city. Henna finished by inviting people to visit her office.

Referring to the work of Henna Linger with Sentinelzorg, Wim Kostier commented, "if you help others you make a connection, then people will respect each other more because they know each other personally. We are not created to love alone." He finished by saying "One family under God, by true love and living for others: this is UPF's vision."

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