Pigeons For Life editie 2019: 44 pigeons from 44 renowoned fanciers. Total revenue of 85.925 euro for these 6 good causes

For the third year in a row PIPA commits to hosting an auction for a good cause. And this year's edition will be an XL sale, with 44 renowned fanciers from across the globe willing to donate a pigeon! We take a look at this year's good causes.

44 renowned fanciers from at home and abroad agreed with PIPA to donate a top quality pigeon for a good cause. Our Pigeons For Life online auction starts on Monday 18th of November, and runs until Monday 2nd of December 2019 on PIPA.

These are the six good causes for 2019:

  • vzw Kleine Held
  • Coda vzw
  • vzw Kruiskenshoeve
  • Hand in hand, together against rheumatism
  • Aalternatief vzw
  • 100 km run for Kom op tegen Kanker

We let the good causes introduce themselves by answering five questions.


What is vzw Kleine Held?
Sofie D'Hondt, the founder of Kleine Held, explains what this non-profit organisation stands for and what they do: "I founded vzw Kleine Hand as a tribute to my own daughter Noor*". We give away free starter packs to parents of premature born children and sick newborn babies. Each pack includes a bodysuit, a hat, a baby blanket, a wrapping blanket, a scented baby blanket and bunting flags, all handmade by a team of around 100 volunteers. With this pack we want to give the parents a brief mental break in an emotionally difficult and intense time, by turning their cold hospital room into a cosy environment.

Our non-profit organisation has only been in existence for two years. And yet, we have developed from a small-scale initiative into a national organisation. We are well-known among all the major neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in Flanders and Brussels. We get 2 to 3 requests a day on average; each starter pack costs around 50 euro.

Noor was prematurely born at 32 weeks and 3 days. The baby suffered from Moebius Syndrome, causing her to spend 7 months in the NICU of the AZ Sint-Jan hospital in Bruges. The reason was that she lost her twin sister early in pregnancy. This happened right when the central nerve system and the brain stem were in full development, which caused the brain stem not to have sufficient cerebrospinal fluid. As a result, the brain stem was underdeveloped. The brain stem controls many basic body functions such as breathing and swallowing. Noor fought for her life from day one until the very end. But she was fighting an unfair battle. We decided on 13th of January 2015 to finally put her to rest; it was the rest she desperately need. It was the most difficult but also the most loving decision we have ever had to make."

Her full story can be found on our website: www.kleineheld.be

What projects have you been working on?
We organise sewing workshops and sewing classes. Since our fabrics will be used for the most vulnerable babies, they have to meet a number of strict requirements. That is why we want our seamstresses to receive adequate training.

Just like every parent, we have many future dreams for our "daughter with her quirks', as we like to call our organisation. Kleine Held vzw really feels like our own child.

- We create our own milestone cards for premature babies:
With these milestone cards, parents can capture all the important milestones in a picture. This makes for a lasting memory in the future.

- We have our annual return day per province, for all the parents that received our starter pack:
We know from our own experience that parents turn to fellow sufferers for support, not just during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit but especially afterwards. It is often assumed that the worst is over once the parents get home, and that they just have to get through it. The opposite is true. This is just the start of the coping process. Besides, a premature birth often involves a lot of medical problems/complications.

- Paying attention to brothers and sisters
The newborn being taken to the NICU right after birth can have quite an impact on the whole family, with brothers and sisters often left wondering what is happening. From their perspective, there are quite a few changes going on: the baby in mom's belly is born but it has to stay in hospital. Mom and dad are behaving differently: they are tense, tired and sometimes a bit sad. They suddenly don't feel like playing with you anymore, and the babysitter comes over regularly as well. The newborn baby seems to be all that matters now. And let's not forget the regular hospital visits, where the baby is once again the center of attention.

That is why we want the brother/sister to have a buddy that can take away their worries for a while.

How and where can people get in touch with you?
The parents or family/friends/midwives/nurses can request a free and personal starter pack using an online form on our website. As such, we have all the details we need right away. The packs are free; we only charge a 6 euro shipment fee.

In addition, parents can always get in touch with us if they are looking for help, if they want to talk or if they need some encouragement. For practical questions, they can always get in touch with the midwife from our management board, who works in the NICU of the AZ Alma hospital in Eeklo.

How many people are working in your team, and what are their tasks or responsibilities?
Our team consists of about 100 voluntary seamstresses. This is our management board:

  • Sofie D'Hondt: Founder, coordinator and chairman.
  • Evelien Roegiers: Founder; plays a supportive role and provides practical advice, working as a midwife at a newborn intensive care unit.

How can people support you directly, besides the PIPA auction?
People can support us in many different ways:

CODA vzw

What is Coda?
Coda vzw is a palliative care unit in Wuustwezel (Noorderkempen, Antwerp)

What projects have you been working on?
Coda vzw has a number of recognised projects, including an MBE (multidisciplinary guidance team) that supports people that receive palliative care at home, a Palliative Care Network Noorderkempen (a palliative care network is a pluralistic organisation that aims to support the further development of palliative care in the region through information, training and collaboration), a palliative day care centre (to accommodate palliative patients one or several days per week), and a Hospice (8 hospital beds to accommodate palliative patients in their final stages). And lastly we have a (non subsidised) grief counselling service, which works in unison with all the other projects, and which all departments can rely on, during treatment and also afterwards, providing specific guidance and support to the bereaved, in grief counselling groups.

How and where can people get in touch with you? 
Our guidance team can either visit the clients/guests/patients at home, or we invite the patients/guests to our palliative care centre in Wuustwezel.

How many people are working in your team, and what are their tasks or responsibilities?
We have around 20 permanent employees and about 120 volunteers that work in care and support. And they are also involved in administration, bookkeeping, grief counselling, gardening, cooking, etc.

How can people support you directly, besides the PIPA auction?
Coda vzw is officially recognised by the Ministry of Finance, which means gifts are tax deductible. We have a dedicated bank account number for donations. For more information, check our website www.coda.care or go to our Facebook page.



Robert Accoe is the driving force behind the Kruiskenshoeve. He tells us what they stand for and what their focus is.

What is de Kruiskenshoeve?
A former farm (from my parents) that we turned into a time-out project for children and youngsters (8 to 18 years old). The farm is located in the Kruiskenstraat 7, St.-Laureins. Our project is aimed towards children and youngsters that are struggling; many of them have been placed in an institution or have been banned from school. Here, they can rest up for a few or several days together with us, spending some time in a natural setting, enjoying the company of our animals.

What projects have you been working on?
The youngsters (3 to 4 every day) are front and centre in this project. He/she gets involved in all of our activities and duties: looking after the animals, tending the garden, cooking, as well as seasonal tasks: picking fruit, wood sawing (we heat with wood), picking up litter. And we perform a number of tasks for the environmental organisation Natuurpunt as well.

How and where can people get in touch with you?
I work as a volunteer every day (I am a retired police officer). People can get in touch with me at the premises, by telephone (0473 89 46 80) or through e-mail: to.kruiskenshoeve@gmail.com.

How many people are working in your team, and what are their tasks or responsibilities?
We have two paid employees that work half-time, as well as six volunteers that support us half a day per week or more. They are involved in our activities but they also help deal with the administration of our non-profit organisation.

How can people support you directly, besides the PIPA auction?
Anyone looking to support us is warmly invited to the premises but we can also bring you a visit to talk about our project. Everyone is free to decide how they want to support us. For more information, head over to the Kruiskenshoeve website.



What is Aalternatief?
Aalternatief vzw is working on the development of a residential care home for about 12 disabled youngsters. Every parent wants the best possible future for his or her child. And we, as parents, share that feeling. But our children are not quite the same; they have a disability.

We are often left wondering, more so than other parents, what our children's lives will look like when they are grownups, when they leave school, and most importantly, when we are no longer around. As a parent, these questions are always on your mind. The future of a disabled youngster is quite uncertain these days. Flanders does have many good day care centres and residential care homes for disabled people but they have long waiting lists unfortunately. That is why we, a group of parents, wanted to work on an alternative. Together, we want to ensure a good future for our children.

What projects have you been working on?
Aalternatief wants to create a new home where children are well surrounded and well taken care of after school. We wanted to build a place where they can get involved in stimulating activities together with their peers. We want to provide a valuable alternative for their current home.

Our children have impaired motor skills and/or a mild to moderate disability. Some of them are now 21 years old, an age at which they have to think about future perspectives once they finish school.

Our project will be located on the site of the library of Aalter, which will soon be empty. This is a historical building in a unique setting. Its architecture is perfectly suited for establishing a bridge between past and present, and we want to thoroughly renovate the premises. Our project wants to get our youngsters involved in society as much as they can. This unique location should help us establish our goals. And we also want to act as a pilot project for the whole of Flanders. Our project will be a window on the world for our youngsters, and the other way round. The location is well-suited for that: near the city centre but still in a quiet and natural setting. We want this new home to be properly embedded in this community, so that the youngsters can get integrated and get involved in community life. And the youngsters can also maintain their social network in the Deinze-Aalter-Drongen region, which is close to their homes.

We have not yet achieved our dream but the end goal is clear: we want to ensure our children's well-being. This is something we have to do!

How and where can people get in touch with you?
We already have 6 youngsters that joined our project. Anyone interested in getting his/her child involved can contact us. We will expand our group to 12 youngsters very soon. You can send an e-mail to info@aalternatief.be.

How many people are working in your team, and what are their tasks or responsibilities?
We have no permanent staff for this project. Our team consists of 6 families that wanted to get this project started. All parents involved are volunteers, and any help is welcome of course. We would also welcome the help of companies that could support us with the financial and practical implementation of our residential care home.

How can people support you directly, besides the PIPA auction?
That is possible. We have recently been officially recognised as a social project, which means every gift of over 40 euros is tax deductible. You can donate directly using the following bank account details: BE75 0018 0989 9051.

With our Aalternatief project, we, the parents, take the future of our children in our own hands. We want to coordinate the rollout and the realisation of this residential care home, and we want to ensure its continuity. That way, we want to (continue to) make sure that our children have a good quality of life.

But we cannot do this on our own. We can only succeed with the help of others; professionals and sympathisers. Many thanks to everyone for their support! If you would like to know more, head over to aalternatief.be.

Hand in hand, together against rheumatism

Wat is Hand in hand, together against rheumatism?
A lot of Belgians suffer from rheumatism. We are responsible for the fundraising for the FWRO, the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research in Rheumatology, founded in 1999, and part of the Belgian Royal Society of Rheumatology (KBVR). Thanks to adequate financial support - which is what we do - this foundation can conduct research and organise a variety of activities.

There are not many areas of medicine that have seen such fundamental progress in recent years as rheumatology: we know a lot more about the disease itself, the diagnoses, as well as treatment and care in a broad sense. This is a worldwide evolution, and it is the result of the contribution of thousands of scientists and care providers around the globe.

Belgium is making considerable progress as well, particularly thanks to the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research in Rheumatology.

What projects have you been working on?
We have different study groups working together on national initiatives, to further expand their knowledge and experience in different fields. They are monitored by passionate rheumatologists that work hard on a voluntary basis to facilitate research.

The Belgian Royal Society of Rheumatology organises an annual congress. The hosting of this congress is vitally important, and we are more than happy to be involved in this as well.

How and where can people get in touch with you?
You can always get in touch with us through our website's contact page and through fundraisers Gerd and Danny.

How many people are working in your team, and what are their tasks or responsibilities?
For a full overview, click here.

How can people support you directly, besides the PIPA auction?
You can support us in many ways, besides the PIPA auction - the different options are listed here. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

100 km run for Kom op tegen Kanker (Fight against cancer)

And our last good cause is the 100 km run. This initiative is not part of the Warmste Week charity event, as opposed to the previous five good causes. This is an initiative that stands on its own, and it has a twist to it: On Sunday 22nd of March, a number of PIPA employees will be running a 100km in groups of four. PIPA will have two groups at the start line, donating 2 x 2500 euro to Kom op tegen Kanker. Save the date, so you can cheer on the PIPA running team in Knokke-Heist. For more information, visit https://www.de100kmrun.be.