"Anyone can

be confronted

with financial worries"


Six years ago, Maisa came to the Netherlands to escape the war in Syria. She feels safe in the Netherlands, but financially it is tough. She got lost in the maze of laws and regulations. With the help of various organizations in Dordrecht, she is increasingly finding her way.

“I thought it was my fault, but even most Dutch people are not aware of all the regulations and allowances. Fortunately the Sociaal Wijkteam and Quiet Drechtsteden are now helping me. For example, with money matters.”

By talking about financial matters, I am now getting the help I need.


A new start in the Netherlands

Maisa had it all in Syria. She was a choir conductor, had her own music school, and worked as a banker. She had to give it all up because of the war. She came to the Netherlands on a cultural visa. “I felt welcome here right away, everyone was so kind. At that time, I was mostly hopeful. I hadn’t yet thought about the problems that come along with building a new life in another country.”

A maze of laws and regulations

Maisa quickly realized she had been too optimistic. She felt lonely and often ran short of money. In her search for help, it turned out that many Dutch people also don’t exactly know how things are organized. Applying for a residence permit, filling out documents, arranging insurances. It proved to be a great challenge.

“Through others I visited the Sociaal Wijkteam. They arranged, for example, for me not to have to pay waste levy because my income is too low. And they sent over an energy assistant to tell me how I can save on my energy bill. That was much needed.”

Thinking carefully about every euro

Maisa lives off a benefit. Due to an illness, her spine is deformed. She has undergone surgery but still has a lot of pain and therefore cannot work. The medical bills are piling up. The result is that she has to think very carefully about where she spends her money. Maisa became increasingly lonely because of this, until she discovered Quiet Drechtsteden.

“I actually went there for the sociability. Contact with people in similar situations. We started talking about my financial worries. Nowadays I sometimes receive tickets for the cinema or a concert. Recently, I even got a free photoshoot. My hair and makeup were done. That someone gives this to me is so touching.”

Talking helps

Usually, Maisa doesn’t talk easily about her financial worries. But these organizations are there to help you. That gave Maisa the confidence that she could tell her story.