Title: Hang In There: the power of storytelling in creating sense of belonging

Hosting institution: The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS), The Netherlands

Date: June 14th, 2019, 10 PM CEST



One of the highlighted #Multinclude cases is the Hang In There initiative of the Research Group Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in The Netherlands. The underlying thought: is it possible to create a sense of belonging for all students? More specifically: can we reach and help students who would otherwise remain unnoticed? The ones who probably need it most. Who are they? Of course, there is not one unambiguous answer to this question. However, the Hang in There initiative, started in September 2018, provides useful perspectives and information about this important issue.

The Hang In There initiative and the ideas behind it will be introduced and demonstrated in this webinar by Professor Aminata Cairo and her research group. What are the explanations of the current situation? What do we need to do (and let go) to get a better view on the needs of all students, including the ones usually overlooked and overheard? And how do we create a safe learning environment and a sense of belonging for all?

Related to this, we also will look forward and show how the research group wants to broaden its scope by reaching out to the people of The Hague and to the cities’ other educational organizations from primary education up to university level.


HOST: Wâtte Zijlstra (THUAS) is coordinator of the #Multinclude project and program director of the Centre of Expertise Global & Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He has a MSc-degree in Economy.

MODERATOR: Edward van Os (moderator) is senior researcher Inclusive Education and as such, connected to the #Multinclude project. He has a MSc-degree in Psychology, and a background in Philosophy, Educational Science, research methodology and teaching.


Aminata Cairo is the Lector of Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Born and raised in the Netherlands to Surinamese parents, she left for the US to pursue her college education. She obtained Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Medical Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology. As an international woman of colour she experienced firsthand the challenges of diversity and inclusion. In her applied anthropological work with students and community organizations she has continually strived to promote inclusion at both the academic and the community level. She received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian award at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2013 for her efforts.  In 2016 she received the Honorary Order of the Palm, a state decoration by the Government of Suriname for her contribution in culture.

Hannah Boekestijn, Karym Leito and Winnie Roseval lead the Student Branch of Research Group Inclusive Education (More info: https://www.hangintherethuas.com/blank).

Hannah Boekestijn is junior researcher in the Student Branch and works on Community Support Networks for students. She is a professional student coach and has graduated with a degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Applied Sciences Leiden. Currently, Hannah is a pre-master student in Life-Cycle Psychology at the Open University in the Netherlands.

Karym Leito is junior researcher in the Student Branch.  He coordinates the Men At Work project (about how to attract more male students to study care professions), the Inclusivity arts installation, and promotes student support and mobilization through working with student organizations. He has a degree in Social Work from The Hague University of Applied Sciences, and is a pre-master student in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.

Winnie Roseval is junior researcher and coordinates the student branch of the Research Group, and the Hang In there project. She recently obtained her MA degree at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht. She worked at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) and, as such, made an inventory of the student population.


Rudy van der Beek and Maria Toko are students at The Hague University of Applied Sciences who engaged in the Hang In There project. Maria studies European Studies and has a background in Theater School. She also serves as the Student Vice-Chair of the University Council. Rudy studies Safety & Security Management Studies and has a background in secondary vocational education. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Council of Public management, Law & Safety.