Founding of AWE

The Founding of the AWE Foundation

During Iris Ferwerda her work in the slums of Brazil, she realized that being able to help others is a luxury not everyone has. People fight to make ends meet & the capability to raise their voice or to change the community disappears. The more she spoke with people, she realized that ideas were present but the support that enables locals to make ends meet and help others was not. It awakened the thought: they don’t need our help but our support. Iris designed a concept that enables locals to help their communities in the global south with support from the western world. 


The first design of the concept was done out of the knowledge Iris gained during working and writing her graduation thesis at War Child Holland & working in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro for a non-profit organisation. With the basic concept on her mind Iris talked, pitched and brainstormed with her network to finalize the concept. She decided that the concept should combine two goals in one. First of all to support local initiatives but also to put the spotlight on unknown stories about the global south. The name was easy to decide: AWE. The name of her grandmother who always had an eye for the individual & at the same time the English word for being amazed which you automatically are if you look at all the individuals stuck in inhumane situations.Then the letters where split & AWE became About World Engagement because that sums up the whole mission of AWE. We bring the best of both worlds together.

And all of the sudden it was born: the AWE Foundation. The non-profit that empowers local initiatives & creates awareness about the Global South.  

But – as Helen Keller said: “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”- the need of more people joining AWE was needed. Iris spread the word & quickly the supervisory board was formed. Laura van der Hoeven, Aram Wondergem & Chantal van den Brink joined the AWE Foundation to make sure the goals are being accomplished and to think along in the whole journey of AWE. Every member of the board adds qualities that will make the AWE Foundation grow.

Iris, Founder

Rio de Janeiro


Join AWE now

Donate, read & follow! 

en_GBEnglish (UK)