Since July 2003, Baron Stijn Coninx has been sponsoring the Siddartha Foundation. He does this mainly to highlight the merits of the many volunteers and inspirer Broeder Gust.
I didn’t immediately accept this sponsorship because I didn’t want to step into a hollow project. What Brother Gust and his people realize with Siddartha, however, is unique. Their work goes straight and sincere to the people who need it. This deserves full attention, not the fact that a well-known Fleming is the godfather. I have accepted that in order to mainly support the people who are working on the projects. I respect those many volunteers. I want to do this without being in the spotlight.
Brother Gust has also asked the filmmaker to take on the sponsorship, because Stijn Coninx has a strong inner compassion. When he was about sixteen years old, he visited the slums of Buenos Aires. He also went to India – in preparation for the Tremelose Father Damien – to get acquainted with the leper people.
Brother Gust told me how Siddartha works in Ethiopia to give sewage children a better life, to give prostitutes back their human dignity. Those are images that stay with you. I also like the project to give children with AIDS a bit of heaven on earth. That is a reality of life that exists here with us as a distant shadow. I do want to go to Ethiopia, although I must not be convinced of the situation there. You come across that contradiction between North and South everywhere.