How a creative workshop can be a positive contribution to the social well-being of children with imprisoned parents.
To May 31, 2023 the exhibition Guiding Lights can be seen in the Atrium of the City Hall in The Hague. Guiding Lights displays the children’s experiences through pictures, audio recordings and the props they created during the workshop. The exhibition shows what children with imprisoned parents need. This exhibition is part of Just Peace The Hague. The Atrium is closed on Pentecost, Monday May 29, 2023.

The opening of the exhibition is on Wednesday May 17, 2023, at 5 p.m. Youth care professionals and other interested parties are very welcome!

During the opening you will receive more information about the Guiding Lights project, the intended impact, the vision and collaborating partners. Expertisecentrum K I N D and Stichting Exodus Nederland will provide more information about the support that their organisations offer to children with imprisoned parents.

Vision and long-term impact of Guiding Lights
The main reason for initiating Guiding Lights is to improve the social well-being and thereby the quality of life of children with an imprisoned parent. Creative workshops and activities are not only fun, to relax and de-stress, but can also contribute to children’s relationship with themselves and their environment. In the long term, it is possible to prevent these children from falling outside of the society due to social-stigma and their home situation.

Organizing creative workshops and activities for children with imprisoned parents brings peers together sharing a similar age and experience. For these children, this could be a great way to socialize and connect with others who are in the same situation. There is recognition and acknowledgment. This can help children build friendships and a sense of community.

In addition, creative activities are a fun and engaging way to learn new skills and to work on self-recovery. Children with an imprisoned parent learn to express themselves through their creativity and thus develop their self-confidence. When they see their ideas come to life, they can get a sense of accomplishment and feel proud of themselves. Positive experiences of success are gained, and these can increase the self-confidence and self-esteem of these children and reduce self-stigma.

© Kristen Uroda, 2017
© Kristen Uroda, 2017 

The Spring Camp
During the Spring Camp
the children will get creative with the theme ‘lazyfunland’ (Luilekkerland). Together they make props inspired by the theme, these are objects made of cardboard and colorful fabric. The children use the props they have created in front of a greenscreen. Through the green screen, the children create their ‘lazyfunland’ together. After the creative workshop, the children are sent a physical memento, a photograph of them in their ‘lazyfunland’.

During and after the workshop, the children and the Spring Camp supervisors are asked questions about their experiences of the creative workshop and how it was to create things together with peers. The props made by the children are exhibited together with information and motivation of the creators.

Kinderen met hun ouder tijdens een Herfstkamp.
Children with their imprisoned parent during the Autumn camp.

Do you see me?
According to the report ‘Do you see me?’ by Kinderombudsman and Stichting Exodus Nederland(Kalverboer M, Hanekamp W, 2017), there are more than 25,000 children with imprisoned parents in the Netherlands. The impact on the lives of these children is enormous. At school, they often don’t feel seen, heard, or understood. Many of them develop emotional problems, behavioural and learning problems that sometimes remain into adulthood.

On, Annelyn Smit (27 years old) talks about her experiences as the daughter of a former imprisoned parent and what helped her. Since she was 15, she has struggled with the stigmas and prejudices present in our society. The comment: “She is becoming just like her father”, has had a lot of influence on her life. Often no distinction was made between the child and imprisoned parent.
Annelyn is actively involved as an experiential expert and works among others in collaboration with expertisecentrum K I N D. It is possible to book her as a speaker for a presentation, event, information, or training. She has seen and experienced the impact on the family from arrest to post-imprisonment with her own eyes. Given the fact that Annelyn knows the pain, she also knows exactly where the pain points lie, what works and especially what does not work.

Annelyn Smit oprichtster van
Annelyn Smit, Founder of

Expertisecentrum K I N D, employer Guiding Lights
Expertisecentrum K I N D is the knowledge and advice centre for professionals (and family) who oversee a child with an imprisoned parent. K I N D works in a recovery-oriented way and looks for methods that contribute to the restoration of relationships between child and (ex-) imprisoned parent. The child’s interests and rights are the main focus under the motto “You recover together!”.

In February 2023, the project ‘Mantle of care, looking after children with an imprisoned parent’ was completed. A project that was made possible by the VSBfonds and Stichting Kinderpostzegels. With this project, expertisecentrum K I N D wants to turn the adverse consequences for children with a parent in detention into sources of strength. The aim is that parents and teachers can reduce the uncertainty and stigma and that they surround the children with good care. The project result is an information guide with tools for parents and teachers to support children and their caretakers in the impact of detention. Teachers and parents need good information, insights, and tools like no other. Until now, these were hardly available.

Dé gids voor familie en onderwijs bij detentie van een ouder.
The guide for family and education in the imprisonment of a parent.

Logo's Guiding Lights

Justice Peace The Hague
The organisation Just Peace gives peace and justice an important place in the hearts and actions of our residents, entrepreneurs, and organisations in the city of Peace & Justice, The Hague.