Els, a former member of ENIEC, who always was involved at ENIEC. Els had a vision on life. She was beloved and respected as a person and in her work. She has worked in healthcare all her life, since the 1960s. Her insights and interventions, which she largely gained in the turbulent 1970’s in Nieuw Unicum, have permanently improved care for people by focusing from an early stage on the importance of individuality, self-determination and control over one’s own life.. At a time when no one still used words like ‘inclusion’, it was her conviction, and she implemented it in collaboration with several health care organisations.
Els mainly worked behind the scenes, made time and provided perspective. A highly intelligent, strong and very present and at the same time a very private person.. Everyone who knows her remembers the one-on-one conversations with Els, on the chair next to her desk or at her home at the dining table. She has helped generations of students in care to reach their graduation., because she saw that students did have the right qualities, despite the fact that (for example) they did not yet speak Dutch very well, she acknowledged and respected that students had the right qualities, despite the fact that many of them did not yet speak Dutch very well. Input from students to see things in a different perspective were always met with an open mind by Els. She intervened in management and training institutes when they were rigid, shared her insights and brought change. Els was listened to. Els was the personification of ‘strict but fair’.
Els also wrote down everything, made a report, was the archive, remembered when there was a failure, was sensitive to every good argument and vice versa, worked hard and loved going on, change and progress. She did that in the Netherlands, but also, in exactly the same way, for 15 years in China, where she is also highly respected, appreciated and missed.
Els was also responsible for the series of booklets: “Understanding each other helps”, which she developed together with employees and students in nursing home De Schildershoek. Booklets that still prove their added value in Dutch healthcare and that deserve an update.
She was since 2005 involved in the creation of ENIEC. In the discussions beforehand, in the realization of the first meetings, as a participant in the first organizing committee and as administrator of the ENIEC archive. Her house in Scheveningen was the place where we met.
She created progress. A life dedicated to a better world.
Els said goodbye in silence. In style, as she was.