Sophie Vangheel, a nurse by training, always wanted to help people. She worked as a volunteer at an international organization for ten years. After a trip to Haiti in 1989, Sophie decided that she was able to and wanted to do more.

“I had never visited a Third World country before and the extreme poverty made a deep impression on me. When I got back home, I promised myself to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged people. At that time, my husband decided to quit working and sell his company. A happy coincidence: he stayed at home and I was able to dedicate myself 100% to working for the good cause. On 23 November 1990, I founded my own organization: Cunina.

Every child should have the opportunity to develop their talents through education. A child that has access to education and is able to graduate, has more chance of a better future. The support of a Cunina godparent is a ray of hope in the life of an underprivileged child. I always think: I could have been that child. Nobody decides where their cradle stands.”

Goddess of the Cradle

Cunina derives from Latin mythology and means: Goddess of the Cradle.

The place where your cradle stands, often determines the opportunities you get in life. It makes a world of difference whether you are born in the rich West, in a hut in Haiti or in a Nepalese mountain village.

Cunina grew from a voluntary organization into a recognized non-governmental organization with permanent employees and a structured organization in our six partner countries. I am an incredibly rich in experience thanks to my job. Since the foundation of Cunina, we have given over 13,000 children access to education and realized over 130 educational projects like building schools, running hostels and organizing new training programs.

The first Cunina godchild, Marlon, was a boat refugee who stayed in a tent camp in the Philippines. He was able to study computer sciences thanks to the support of Cunina. Today, he has a job and a home; he is married and the father of a son.

Cunina is the best proof that you can set something in motion as an individual. The one seed I once planted, is currently a tree with a whole lot of branches. "