Who are our Sponsors? Let us introduce you, starting with Jan Graat and Caroline van de Velde.

Let’s start with Jan Graat and Caroline van de Velde.

Who are Jan and Caroline and why did they decide to sponsor and support FSBM?

Jan: Studied Theology and Philosophy specialising in Medical Ethics and had a job as a Professor at the Medical Faculty of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Later on Jan achieved a Master’s in Psychology with post academic specialisation in Psychotherapy. Alongside his job at the University Jan ran a private practice in Psychotherapy. Jan has an inventive and creative spirit: designing, building, planning and a great handy man! Implementation was always a good counterbalance to his professional occupation. He also likes photography and in recent years has enjoyed capturing and editing videos. Jan is a seasoned low budget traveler, both he and Caroline have the same sense of adventure and have traveled independently of any organisation to remote areas of many countries in the world. This sense of adventure made it very easy for them to immigrate to South Africa.


Caroline: Studied Physiotherapy and had a job as a Clinical Perfusionist at the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. Later she went on to complete two Master’s Degrees in Public Health Science and was managing several programes and projects regarding a better healthcare organisation.  She was also an advisor to the hospital board of the MUMC. Caroline is an enthusiastic sportswoman: Mountain biking (French Alps, Argus), running (New York Marathon) and so much more. Here in South Africa it was her dream to fly a plane, last year her dream came true and she got her Pilots license.  Congratulations Caroline, you really are an amazing sportswoman!

Jan and Caroline are married and retired in 2013, they have permanent residency in McGregor, South Africa.

This is what Jan and Caroline had to say after meeting Mary Corpe Silver, the founder of FSBM.

We fell in love with the project and the children of First Step Ballet, but noticed its vulnerability in funding and continuity in the long term. Admiration for the dedication of Mary, the children and their parents for Ballet inspired us to find a way to effectively support them. We took the initiative to see if a Non-Profit Foundation and Trust could work and it did! “Stichting Symbulon” in the Netherlands and the “Symbulon Charitable Trust” in South Africa were established. For more information you can go to their website https://symbulon.co.za

We are so grateful to see so many people supporting Symbulon in various ways. The biggest support is provided by our Maastricht friends André and Marjorie Rieu, they make it possible to support projects like First Step Ballet, McGregor so that Mary can continue her important work.

First Step Ballet are delighted to have Jan, Caroline, André and Marjorie Rieu as Sponsors of First Step Ballet, Mcgregor. We are so grateful to have the “Symbulon Charitable Trust” behind us and everyone from “Stichting Symbulon” in the Netherlands. Thank you!



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