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Learn more about our history

Djapo is a pioneering ship. Always on the move, from the very beginning. Ever since our start in 1968, our mission evolved around children, young people and societal innovation. But every now and then our ship changes course. Because society evolves, for instance. Or because our expertise grows and we pick up new insights along the way.

Curious about our route? Climb aboard our ship.

1968

Erik de Clerck founds the non-profit organisation Alfa. Alfa is a think tank and action group dedicated to raising awareness around injustices in the world. 

1970s

The Flemish Government recognises Alfa as Youth Centre for Societal Innovation (JOCEMA)

1973

From Alfa springs the Wereldwinkel in Turnhout.

1990s

Alfa starts creating educational materials and supervising workshops. 

1993

ABOS (today Directorate General of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid) recognises Alfa as a regional education centre.

1997

Alfa is recognised as a NGO.

2000

Alfa is starting a close collaboration with Cemuvo in Alken and Horizon Educatief in Ostend.

2003

Alfa starts rolling out five-year programmes with the support of Directorate General for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

2008

Alfa merges with the Esmeraldas school operation in Ghent and Cemuvo in Alken. Together, they choose to continue under the name Djapo. In the West African Wolof language, Djapo means - freely translated - 'working together'. There are three provincial support centres in Alken, Turnhout and Ghent, and a national secretariat in Leuven.

2010

Djapo merges with the Wereldwerkplaats and moves to the Ortolanenstraat in Kessel-Lo, where the Wereldwerkplaats was located.

2014

The provincial support centres disappear, but Djapo maintains a strong regional operation. We carry on the name Djapo with pride. It refers to the global impact of societal choices we make here, and our act of solidarity.

2023

Today, Djapo is a recognised NGO and a member of the NGO Federation and 11.11.11. Children and young people remain at the heart of our organization. Our commitment to lead and address societal challenges is bigger than ever before.