Chaja Foundation and disease management through creativity

The Chaja Foundation is an organization that wants to help people in their recovery from cancer. The name Chaja is derived from the Hebrew word “chai” which means “life”. The Chaja Foundation does not put the disease first, but rather life, so that anyone who has been confronted with the disease cancer (or people close to them) can get back to life. Through creative activities, fellow sufferers can help each other in solidarity. The foundation organizes numerous activities such as workshops in various areas and meditative dance. There is also a choir led by a professional conductor, but where fun is also paramount.

Origin of the Chaja Foundation

The Chaja Foundation was founded by Marleen van den Berg after she was confronted with breast cancer. Enthusiastic about activities in which she participated elsewhere, she decided to set up something in her hometown of Oss to help people work on their coping process through creative expression. After the idea emerged, it took another two years before she, together with some enthusiastic fellow sufferers, was able to establish the Chaja Foundation on February 14, 2007.

Port where everyone can moor

Much has been written about the disease cancer and there are also various aid organizations and peer groups. The Chaja Foundation is such a group of fellow sufferers that is actually quite special. With the right people at the helm, the foundation runs no risk of succumbing to meeting culture. Short lines of communication between board members and quick decision-making, involving as many members as possible, characterize the Osse foundation. The Chaja Foundation wants to be a port where everyone who is dealing with the disease cancer can moor. Spacious steps ensure an easy transition to one of the creative activities that are organised. Because the foundation’s objective is: “To offer a creative platform to people who have been confronted with cancer in their own lives or in their immediate environment.”

Creativity as a starting point in the cancer recovery process

The main aim is to provide a creative platform that distinguishes the foundation from many other forms of aid. Creativity is the starting point in the processing process in which emotions are often so difficult to put into words. By participating in the activities, support, comfort and strength can be found to cope with the disease process and its consequences. The Chaja Foundation mainly wants to ensure that the disease is not constantly at the forefront. A creative coping method is also good not only for people who are confronted with cancer themselves, but certainly also for their loved ones. After all, it is the loved ones who are forced to take on the role of caregiver and therefore often hardly have time to cope themselves.


The Chaja Foundation organizes a number of regular activities:

Choir Chaja

Singing for your life is a very appropriate motto for the choir, which was founded in 2009 and has approximately 25 members. Led by a professional conductor and a voice expression coach, rehearsals take place twice a month on an extensive repertoire. Singing in the Chaja Choir creates solidarity and provides a lot of support to each other through the mutual bond. Although we strive for the highest possible musical quality, conviviality when singing and pausing together plays a very important role.

Sacred or meditative dance

This activity has also been around for several years. Sacred or meditative dance usually involves dancing in a circle and the dances have a simple structure. The centerpiece is often indicated by flowers or a symbolic object. The way in which the outer movement is created in sacred or meditative dance also causes the inner movement. The reverse also applies, creating harmony. Sometimes the dance is quiet and subdued and other times exuberant and joyful.

Painting, drawing and sculpting workshops

Painting, drawing or sculpting can give space to emotions. Working with color and shape and being completely absorbed in them can be an outlet for pent-up feelings. It is a form of transmission without words that can provide comfort, support and renewed strength. Painting, drawing or sculpting is a creative form of showing what is going on inside and can therefore make a major contribution to the coping with a serious illness such as cancer. Being creative is not so much about the end result but more about the experiences from which the participants draw strength to live life to the full again. In addition to attending workshops, you can also visit the Open Atelier of Atelier De Driepoot on two days a week.

Cooking Workshop

Cooking together under the guidance of expert chefs and enjoying together in a pleasant atmosphere creates a bond, just like the other activities. The topics of conversation while cooking, dining and certainly not forgetting the after-dinner meal are now in a different area than the illness, which can be very liberating.

Incidental activities

In addition to the regular activities, the Chaja Foundation also organizes various incidental activities. In the past a number of activities have taken place such as:

  • Exhibition of processing art in Het Hooghuis in Oss.
  • Poetry course resulting in a beautiful collection of poems.
  • Painting workshop in which a mosaic artwork was created that was exhibited at a National Manifestation in The Hague, where Koor Chaja also performed.
  • Sales exhibition of donated works of art, the proceeds of which benefited the foundation.
  • Performance by the Meditative Dancing group.
  • Performance in the chapel of the Jeroen Bosch hospital in Den Bosch.
  • Participation in a National Choir Day at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht.

New activities

There are plans to repeat some of the activities that took place in the past. Furthermore, the board regularly devises new activities that can be carried out if there is a budget for them.

Financial support

Anyone who wants to support this beautiful work will receive the title “Friend of the Chaja Foundation” for €25 per year. Anyone who has been affected by the work of the foundation can transfer an amount to account number 4962513 in the name of the Chaja Uden Foundation. Both forms of donations can also provide a tax advantage because the Chaja Foundation has ANBI status for charities.

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