About Our Founder

Our founder is Frederique Kallen; she grew up on a farm in the village of Noorbeek in the Netherlands. Her mother Alice Kallen-Frijns was the epitome of beauty, acceptance and love. These are traits that radiate through Frederique’s infectious smile and laugh. Alice worked as an educator for children with learning disabilities and had a dream to open an orphanage. It was a dream that was gladly put on hold to raise Frederique, her brother and three sisters, one of whom was born with a disability.

After graduating from the conservatory with a degree in music therapy, Frederique felt the same passion her mother had, to start an orphanage. She began volunteering in Latin America and Africa. She worked for several years in the Netherlands before she was asked to run a temporary orphanage in Ayacucho, Peru. A beautiful city in the Andes that has been ravaged by civil war and poverty.

In her late 20s, Frederique struggled with feelings of unpreparedness as she considered starting her own nonprofit organization, but all of her plans came to a halt after learning her mother had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). She quit her job and spent the next year caring for her mother until she passed away in 2004, just one year after her initial diagnosis.

Losing her mother forced Frederique to reset and rebuild. It was a path of personal discovery that allowed her to turn her grief into something beautiful that would forever carry on her mother’s legacy of love. But Frederique’s dream was so much bigger than an orphanage.

In 2005, Frederique turned her pain into something positive and started the NGO Mama Alice in Ayacucho, Peru: “At Mama Alice, we stand for permanent and sustainable change. Ultimately, we want to reach a self-sufficient, thriving Peru – one in which our charity will no longer need to exist.”

This ambitious vision, fueled by a passion for working with children, has been a driving force for our founder, Frederique Kallen, and her growing team over the years. Currently, the board and management team consist of only women. Girls and young women are inspired and learn to believe that they too can fulfil a higher position one day. Together with her team, she tries to create the best possible environment for underprivileged children and young people to develop their full potential and contribute to a better future for themselves and their communities.

Frederique is driven by a strong sense of urgency and justice, and together with her team, aims for sustainable change. She envisions empowering rural women and enabling them to be role models in their families and villages. In the next ten years, she aims to train 1,000 women and help them become financially independent.

Frederique won many international awards such as the World of Children Education award and the Graham Maher award.