The film about our trip, consisting of all the beautiful interviews of the children, is finally finished! We will publish the documentary (15 min) as soon as possible (with eng. subs). First it will have its premiere at the 15th anniversary of Roses for Children!

Scroll down for the whole story!

We made updates during our trip from all the children we encountered. These updates, from start to finish, you can find bellow.


During our trip Nina will talk to the Dutch, Flemish, French, Spanish and Portuguese children we meet. After all, how do they deal with difficult situations and emotions of grief and frustration? Would these children be able to teach us something about how to make opportunities out of difficulties? On this page she will give a brief account of these special meetings.

  • " This is me as a child. For this project I'm taking my 5year old self with me. With the same curiosity as I had when I was five I try to investigate how children deal with difficult situations and the difficult emotions that are tied to it. I'm especially curious about how they overcome these emotions, because I think children are exceptional good at this.

    For me the process of making a film is the most important of all and why I love what I do. It's always a excuse of getting extremely close to people, collecting experiences I recognize and finding answers on questions that I am having difficulties with, just like the rest of us. "



"Stop crying and start playing"


The beginning

9 September 2017, Bronbeek, Belgium

Yesterday we experienced a very warm welcome with Marianne Moyson-Everse and her family in Borsbeek, a small town near Antwerp. At the local neighbourhood party, I had the chance to quietly interview the first Flemish children about their difficulties and how they go with them. Here are a few short quotes.

Helena (8 and a half)"I was crying a little bit, but also laughing a bit, but I didn't like it so much that I was laughing, so then I felt a bit weird...".

Dries (8) believes that adults should be careful with there children "That they look at you and see that things are not going well. And sometimes also that they see things will be ok and leave you alone for a moment."

Yesterday we became official pilgrims at the Jacobskerk in Antwerp. With the first beautiful stories on film and this official titel, the journey seems to have officially started!

  • Noortje (9) & Fien (8)

  • Wout (12)

  • Dries (8)

Noortje: "If someone has died I think of the nice moments we had  together and then I try to not think about the sad things".

Do you do the same Fien, with difficult moments like these?

Fien:  "Sometimes.... and sometimes not. And then I just keep crying. Until my body says: I've actually forgotten, so why am I still weeping?


A day of peace
21 September 2017

Today is the International Day of Peace. This is a good time to reflect on what peace means and to realize what kind of peace we encounter on our journey.
We talk with the children we meet along the way about sorrow and how they deal with this awkward feeling.
After all, what space is there for sorrow? And how do you continue dealing with this sadness?
We talk mainly about minor distress: a cat that has died, a hard fall, the feeling of missing a parent when they are away for a few days.
For a child it seems there is no difference between big and small sorrows. And yet I think: Thank god, these are children who have grown up in peace. Children who have a home and seem to have space to talk about their grief.
It is wonderful to be able to give these children a voice and to take the time to listen.
Today, we stand still for a moment and ponder about the other side. Because how many children are missing this voice!
It can be so different and it is so many places in the world where chaos reigns, like Myanmar, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, to name but a few of the conflict countries.
Two years ago, former child ombudsman Marc Dullaert said that countries are still doing too little to encourage child participation. "Not one of the 163 countries in the Kids Rights Index achieved the highest possible score in this respect. This means that the views of the 2.2 billion children in the world are not sufficiently taken into account on issues that directly concern them,"says Dullaert.
If Western countries are already struggling to appreciate a child's voice, how long will it take for the rest to realize this?

Oscar is showing his moves in Saintes, France

Viva la France
1 October 2017

Why am I so fortunate and do others have to suffer? Is a question that the 12 year old Maxime from Bordeaux is asking himself.
With a fierce look in his eyes he is telling me about his view on the world and how he would like to see it changed.
Stan, the younger brother of Maxime, is telling me about his godfather, a fantastic man! With tears in his eyes he looks back on the last time he saw him. And he still has to wait for a month until he returns! How do you cope with these sort of feelings?
In the past Candice, of 14, would get very angry and frustrated.
But now she just goes in her room, closes the curtains, puts the music on and starts to dance.

What a beautiful encounters in Bordeaux! A big thanks to the family Romatet who received us so warmly into their home.

Taking a break...


  • Hannah

    Hannah (14), from the village Tama in the north of Spain, lost her father.
    She tells me how her friends helped her and can see when she is not doing well. She feels a sort of responsibility towards her mother in dealing with her loss.

    "How am I going to tell my mother that I'm in pain when my mother is in the same grief?"

  • Alvaro

    Alvaro is 9 years old and lives in the town of Lebeña. He tells me how sad he was when his dog died. When he feels this way he tries to think about football, the sport he loves. He wants to become a professional football player when he grows up.

  • Lucia and her sister Helena

    Lucia (13) and Helena (15) have had a difficult year with there father getting very ill and laying in the hospital. They both deal with it differently. Lucia needs time for herself and goes skating to put her mind at ease. Helena needs the company of her friends. She tries to see the little visits at the hospital as something education. She wants to be a doctor.

  • Pilu

    Pilu (16) is also living in Tama, a small town in the middle of the beautiful Picos mountains. This super ambitious girl wants to be a doctor and is already practicing her stitching skills on her wounded pets (4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 ducks). When she feels upset she goes running, creating tracks al over the field.



After two months of cycling we arrived at our final stop, Portugal. Our first destination on the map is Porto. This beautiful city has a lot of memories for me. I know it quite well because of my dear friends Rosalinde and Pedro, who are living there. What a special feeling to arrive there by bi​cycle.

Welcome to Porto!
  • Meet Dani (13) & Rafa (8), living near to the river side of Porto. We talk about how the sisters,who are very close, deal when having a fight. They both point to eachother when asked who is better in letting go. Rafaela tells me when she feels upset she likes to listen to Brazilian funk.

  • I am warmly welcomed by the Portuguese Marlene and her Flemish husband Gilbert in a suburb of Porto, Matosinhos. Together with Gilbert I interview their two children.

  • Daniel (10) tells me about how he has become more realistic in the things he wants for himself. He wanted to become an inventor for a long time, but maybe his ideas where to big. Now he is considering becoming an actor. The best way to deal with difficult thought is to think about something you really like, he tells me. For him this means thinking about lego, like how to create a new deck for his airplanes.

  • Fortunately, Sarah (8) doesn't experience too many troublesome things. But sometimes when she is laying in bed she does get worried about everything that might happen, such as having an earthquake. When she feels upset she tries to stay as calm as possible. This is an advice she also likes to give to others.

Sarah showing off her skills


We reached the final destination of this special and inspiring journey and at the same time this marks a beginning: Let the editing begin!
Our last week has been quite amazing. We had the opportunity to visit IAC, Instituto de Apoio à Criança, an NGO that has been working to empower children in Portugal for decades. They are responsible for getting a large number of children off the Lisbon streets, dealing not only with the kids but getting in contact with all people involved to solve problems that go far beyond first sight and interpretation. 
They invited us to go look at one of there projects in Marvila, a deprived suburb of Lisbon and meet some of the children. 

Here I got the opportunity to talk with Muhamadu (14), a very wise boy from New Guinea. Mahumadu told me how it felt to leave Africa and, as an oldest, leaving his brothers and family behind. He told me about his dreams for the future and how he is finding comfort in these thoughts on moments of distress. 

It was a privilege to meet him and his teacher Bruno who helped me with the translation and the rest of the children and teachers. 
On the day before our flight back home our journey ended with a beautiful and personal talk with minister Jose Antoinio Vieiera da Silva accompanied by the dutch ambassador Govert Jan Bijl de Vroe. We talked about children-rights in Portugal and why the Portuguese became first on the KidsRightsIndex. It felt to me that there is a big correlation between a strong and universal family sense that seem characteristic for the Portuguese and the need to work with less resources and therefor help each other out. 
Unfortunately  I could only make pictures of this special meeting.  
Then for the editing process: Being back means dealing with all the great projects that I left behind. Next couple of months I will start working on developing a new film about a small music society in collaboration with the dutch broadcaster NTR and production company Tangerine Tree. This will fill up my time, meaning that the project and the footage will have to wait a bit until the time is there for me to finish it and I can’t wait!