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Poverty expert becomes coordinator of De Roma

Daniëlle Dierckx
She was a professor in poverty issues at our university and the wife of Flemish Green party leader Wouter Van Besien. Now, Danielle Dierckx is set to become the coordinator of Borgerhout’s popular theatre De Roma.

Raised in Turnhout, the youngest child of a butcher, she worked in the field before entering the academic world. Daniëlle Dierckx (44) has long been the face of the annual Armoede en Sociale Uitsluiting (Poverty and Social Exclusion) and has sought anti-poverty strategies that work both in policy and in practice.

Daniëlle believes it is our society’s duty to expose the mechanisms behind social exclusion. A major contributor to making poverty more visible, she has also succeeded in making the fight against poverty a ministerial matter.

Levels of poverty in Belgium have not fallen for several years, but Dierckx remains optimistic. She feels it is clear what has to happen in order to fight poverty. One of the most important first steps is to work on the talent development and self-respect of young people from migration backgrounds.

In her new role as coordinator of De Roma, she aims to intensify diversity efforts and use the theatre as a platform and springboard for young people to realise their dreams. Dierckx believes that combatting poverty is truly a matter for the city. In order to ensure all its inhabitants can live a decent life, the city must provide a strong social fabric in which various bodies and actions join forces to work together.

Read the full story (in Dutch) in the UAntwerp Magazine | December 2017