They keep NDSM clean, safe and intact: the boys from Amsta Karaad

Who actually cleans up NDSM? Who ensures that the site remains free of (hazardous) waste? Meet: the boys from Amsta Karaad and Marc Ovink, one of their supervisors.

For a number of years, Stichting NDSM-Werf and the NDSM warehouse have been working together with Amsta Karaad to employ people with a distance to the labor market at the NDSM Wharf. Together with the grounds managers of the NDSM outside terrain and warehouse, they keep NDSM clean, safe and intact. We talked to Marc, he tells us all about his work with the guys from Karaad at NDSM.




Marc, could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Marc, I have been working here at NDSM for two years now supervising adults with what we call mild intellectual disabilities, but also people with mental disorders such as Korsakov. Two years ago we started in the NDSM warehouse where we had a small orange wagon that was stationary from which we worked. We started there with three boys who did odd jobs in the warehouse, and those activities slowly grew. This year we expanded our work to the outside terrain as well, and this summer we also moved into a new office. We now do jobs throughout the terrain to keep NDSM clean, safe and intact.

What kind of activities are you talking about?

We work a lot with Alex Both, the grounds manager of the outside area of NDSM. He then gives our boys small jobs spread across the terrain. We have now found a good pattern in this work. Some of our participants are autistic, you see, so they like to know what is on the program for the day. For example, every Monday and Thursday we have a fixed round for the waste bins in the NDSM warehouse. All the waste is collected by our boys and taken to the compactor, which they also know how to operate

We make our rounds around the outdoor area on go-karts and cargo bikes. The boys drive them around the terrain with trailers to clean up waste. You may have come across them when visiting NDSM! We also do some light green maintenance throughout the terrain. Then the boys go out with a brush cutter to trim the grass and forest edges on the wharf. You notice that some boys have started to feel very responsible about their work here at NDSM.

I mainly see boys driving around on go-karts, are girls also allowed to come and work at NDSM?

Of course, girls are also very welcome. But in general they like the work here less. It is quite physically demanding, you have to do a lot of lifting and carrying while being outside. The girls in the residential groups that we work with often find this less attractive.

Can you also tell me more about Amsta Karaad in general?

Amsta is a large organization that provides care here in Amsterdam. For example, they also offer elderly care. Amsta Karaad is actually a small part of Amsta that works with people with a (mild) intellectual disability. Amsta Karaad has several residential groups in Amsterdam where people live and are offered daytime activities and workplaces. NDSM is an example of such a workplace. All the boys who work on with us here on the terrain live with supervision somewhere in Amsterdam. The participants also receive compensation for the work they do here.

I really like that you really build a bond with those guys

I notice that it is really nice for them here. The boys often experience setbacks and generally don’t have what we would call an easy life. When they are working here and they receive a compliment from a passer-by or employee, for example: “nice job!” then you really see them brighten up. That gives a positive feeling, also for myself. This terrain is of course also very tough and challenging, which also has a good influence on whether the boys have a good time. The freedom they get here has a good influence on them, and that is reflected in the work they do.

What is your role within this construction and can you tell us more about yourself?

I supervise the boys on the days they work here, which is every day from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Of course, I don’t do this alone, I work together with a fantastic team of several supervisors. When the day is over, we report back to the residential groups about how the day went here and how the boys did individually.

I am originally a graphic designer, but after 13 years I got tired of sitting behind a screen every day. I wanted to do something different, and then I finally ended up at Amsta. They offered me a training course that I could follow to do this work, and I have been doing it ever since, with great pleasure! I like that you really build a bond with these guys. When they come to work here almost every day for a year and a half, you really get to know them a bit and that’s a lot of fun.

I think I speak for everyone at NDSM when I say that we are very happy that you are there to keep the terrain clean, safe and intact. Do you still have any last comments?

We also really enjoy it at NDSM! Here’s an open call: if you use the WMO or the WLZ, you could start working with us. People are always allowed to join, the more hands the better. If you are interested, please contact the Client Service Bureau: [email protected]

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