270,000 euros raised for the 'Children of Ruinerwold'
The target amount for the crowdfunding campaign for the nine so-called "children of Ruinerwold" was reached within two days. On Sunday morning, the counter stood at more than 270,000 euros. The aim was to collect 30,000 euros for each child.
The money goes through a foundation to the children of Gerrit Jan van D. (68), who lived for years hidden from the outside world in a remote farm near the Drenthe village of Ruinerwold. The case started when one of them escaped in October 2019. The money raised is meant to give them a fair chance at a new life.
The amount comes from more than 10,000 donors. The oldest children say in a response that they cannot yet comprehend it. "It feels like recognition from society and is experienced as heart-warming. Words are not enough, "says a message sent from the Children of Ruinerwold Foundation.
The crowdfunding campaign will continue in the coming week via the Geef.nl website. According to Esther Suurmond, one of the initiators, it is still possible to make direct donations to the bank account of the foundation afterward.
In recent weeks, the story of the oldest four, including the one who raised the alarm, has been shown on television in the documentary 'The Children of Ruinerwold.' In it, documentary maker Jessica Villerius talks with the three now grown men and a woman after she was approached by them in 2019 because they wanted to tell their story. Millions of people watched the series.
D. was accused of holding six of his children against their will for years. He was also suspected of physically and sexually assaulting his children. But the court in Assen ruled in March this year that the criminal proceedings against Van D. had to be ended because he cannot stand trial due to his poor health.
Van D. suffered serious and permanent brain damage from a stroke in 2016. The court decided to release the man. Lawyer Corinne Jeekel has now announced that there will be civil proceedings against their father on behalf of the four oldest children.