Every year, the Flemish public broadcaster VRT closes the year with a popular solidarity campaign known as De Warmste Week. In the last week before Christmas, the VRT mobilizes the Flemish public with great enthusiasm. This year the campaign formula will have a new approach: for #DWW21, the VRT is launching a search for 21 young people who want to make the whole of Flanders aware of one important social theme that young people are deeply concerned about, namely being able to be who you are.
This new story was announced this morning on Studio Brussel, MNM and Eén by the three ambassadors of the campaign, Gloria Monserez (StuBru, Ketnet), Kawtar Ehlalouch (MNM) and Stéphan Tanganagba (Op Kot, Eén). Apart from making the theme open to discussion, money will once again be collected in a fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, which has been specially set up to support projects that fit in with this theme.
(You can activate english sutbtitles on our campaign video here above)
The VRT is taking the well-known formula of 'De Warmste Week' campaign, which is traditionally held just before Christmas, to a new level. Starting this year, De Warmste Week will allow young people to steer the campaign, and also choose the theme around which the solidarity campaign will revolve. By taking things in their own hands this way young people will be able to mobelize the whole Flemish community, from young to old.
The VRT study service questionned young people between the ages of 16 and 24. The study shows that many young people are concerned about increasing intolerance and polarization in our society, and are more than willing to take action. For 7 out of 10 young people their priority is “a world where everyone feels good about themselves” (76%) and “where everyone has the freedom to be who they are or want to be” (72%). This will be the central theme of #DWW21: being able to be who you are.
“What is so striking is that many young people find it important to be completely free to be the person they want to be and to express their thoughts and feelings openly. And because the young are our future, we cannot ignore that signal. We have to go back to basics. For De Warmste Week young people are now taking things into their own hands and so setting certain things in motion for both young and old. Which is why the new #DWW21 is completely tailored to their needs. Polarization in a society is never good. If #DWW21 can ensure that people once again become more tolerant towards each other, that the theme is open to discussion and money can be collected for charities for both young and old, we will have achieved our goal," says Frederik Delaplace, CEO of the VRT.
#DWW21 ambassadors: Gloria, Kawtar and Stéphan are looking for 18 more young people
Gloria Monserez, Kawtar Ehlalouch and Stéphan Tanganagba are the first 3 ambassadors of #DWW21. They form, as it were, the very core of the entire campaign. Today the trio also launched an appeal to #DWW21 for 18 committed young people between 16 and 24 years old from Flanders or Brussels who are willing to give their best to this project, to join them. Young people who feel called to do so can now register via www.dewarmsteweek.be. In the autumn, the 21 young people will raise awareness in the whole of Flanders for this campaign, which is aimed at everyone, young and old.
“I think it's an incredibly worthy cause, that three young people can take on this task, and soon there will be 21 of us. Because this is something we young people have to do and achieve. I think it's important that people feel safe, that you can just walk around the streets without being afraid to be who you are. For example, as a girl I still have to on guard too often when I'm walking down the street. I hope that through De Warmste Week all girls, women and by extension everyone else, can simply be who they are and that we can create changes for the better here,” says Gloria Monserez.
“For me it's important to have the feeling you are accepted and no distinction is made about the colour of your skin or the people you love. Everybody should feel that safety when entering a new group of people, that is a way I want to live for myself too”, says Stéphan Tanganagba.
“It also took me a long time to dare to be who I am. I was almost the only Moroccan at my school and I so wish I could have been 100% myself then. But that's hard if you're a little out of the loop. And when I look around me, I still too often see too many people who have to fight to be who they are. Even in my own close environment. I'm already looking forward to the time when my sisters can be theirselves, with or without wearing their headscarves," said Kawtar Ehlalouch.
24-year-old Kawtar Ehlalouch has been the regular sidekick of Peter Van de Veire in De GrotePeter Van de Veire Ochtend Show on MNM since 2019. 20-year-old Gloria Monserez has been working at VRT as a Ketnet wrapper since 2019 and has been presenting the evening block (9pm – midnight) at Stubru since January 2021. In recent years 23-year-old Stéphan Tanganagba has featured in the 'Op Kot' section in the popular programme Iedereen Beroemd (Everyone Famous) (on Eén), with almost one million viewers. Last summer the complete OP KOT XL episodes also attracted an average of 600,000 viewers every day.
Raising money for the DWW Fund
In addition to raising awareness about this theme, De Warmste Week will collect money for specific projects that help to ensure that everyone can be who they are or want to be. For this purpose, the VRT has specially set up the DWW Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation.
Starting in September, the Foundation will launch a call for projects to be submitted by various non-profit organisations. Examples could be projects that promote the inclusion of people with an impairment in sports clubs and schools, buddy activities for people with dementia, tailor-made companies that create chances for disadvantaged groups.
“As in the past, we will ensure that the funds reach the project applicants quickly. We also monitor the projects and evaluate the results. These will be made available in the short term, because the projects must be fully implemented in 2022,” says Gerrit Rauws, director of the King Baudouin Foundation.
The King Baudouin Foundation is a permanent partner of De Warmste Week and will put together an independent jury, which will also include representation from the 21 young people. The jury will select the projects to be supported. The jury is led by chairperson Eva Vereecke, who is also director of De Ambrassade, the organization behind the youth information platform WAT WAT, the youth app WADDIST and supporter of the Flemish youth council and youth work in Flanders.
“We are very happy to join De Ambrassade to support this new approach by DWW, which focuses on the strength of young people and youth work and positively emphasizes the great social commitment of young people. Young people and other volunteers have had a very difficult year, but their commitment remains unswerving. The renewed DWW Fund provides opportunities for projects for young people, the elderly and anyone who is prepared to work for a just society in which you can be who you are”, says Eva Vereecke, chairperson of the DWW Fund, director of De Ambrassade.
De Warmste Week
During De Warmste Week, so just before Christmas between 18 and 24 December 2021, StuBru, MNM, Eén and VRT NWS will join forces for live television and live radio broadcasts in various locations in Flanders. More information about this will follow later.
KBC and VRT, partners for a warm society
Over the next three years, KBC bank and insurer will become the official partner of De Warmste Week. The KBC will play an active role in supporting the chosen goal. Its commitment to De Warmste Week is a conscious choice.
Johan Thijs, CEO KBC Group summarizes the commitment as follows: “KBC not only supports the realisation of De Warmste Week, our 15,000 employees in Belgium are also ready to actively support this initiative, together with the VRT, to help everyone be who they want to be. Social commitment lies close to KBC's heart. There is a great social vibe among our employees throughout the KBC Group. We see this in the initiatives that employees take on an individual basis, but also in the high response to and enthusiasm with which our employees are committed to initiatives within the company. An initiative such as De Warmste Week and this year's theme, namely being able to be who you are, certainly deserves our support and fits in perfectly with our company values and our DNA.”