In Swahili, tunafasi means, WE ALL HAVE A PLACE. 


Tunafasi supports strong, local, organizations that implement projects with vision, passion, and determination, which positively and sustainably impact the lives of the ultra poor people. Organizations that enable people to assume responsibility to develop themselves and their communities.

Vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, those living in extreme poverty, and single women, are often discriminated against and have little access to basic services, such as health care and education. As a result, they often have few opportunities to develop themselves.

Tunafasi coaches local organizations to develop a more entrepreneurial approach aimed at creating a social safety net and knowledge transfer. Tunafasi also supports philanthropists and capital funds by investing in lasting positive changes in vulnerable societies. Tunafasi builds long-term relationships with these investors and local organizations based on trust and equality.

Tunafasi was founded in April of 2019 by Betteke de Gaay Fortman.


Who Am I?

My name is Betteke de Gaay Fortman. As a young girl, my family and I lived in Zambia for several years. This experience sparked my passion for other cultures, adventure, and taking initiative. After studying Spanish and Latin American language, culture, and history, and running a language company, I went on to direct entrepreneurial foundations, including the De Waal Foundation and later the Karuna Foundation. 

The Karuna Foundation has developed a scalable care model in Nepal that encourages local leaders to create self-reliant and inclusive communities. Through working at all levels (from the poorest communities to large institutions, philanthropic foundations, and governments) I have learned what motivates people, but also what difficulties and sometimes insurmountable challenges arise in the process of making lasting change. Under my leadership, the Karuna Foundation blossomed into an independent and strong local organization. The Inspire2Care care model, in conjunction with the local and provincial government, is currently being scaled up into an entire province of Nepal, proving to be a unique and effective solution.

On April 1, 2019, I founded Tunafasi because I wanted to use my knowledge and experience to positively impact the lives of as many people who need it as possible. 

What I Do:

I believe in equality, diversity, servant leadership, the power of people to change their lives for the better, openness, and working together on the basis of trust. Taking responsibility for everything I do is fundamental to who I am. I am also committed to improving the lives of other people in any way I can.

What I Do:

Drawing on my experiences, I offer long-term managerial involvement in projects and organizations that aim to create lasting changes in poor communities. I also offer short-term or one-time advice to organizations that want to take a step towards more decentralized management, making a larger impact, increasing self-reliance, or seeking a clear exit or transformation strategy. I can facilitate workshops, lead sessions to spark inspiration, or give presentations on a number of topics including leadership, sustainability, local anchoring, inclusion, (financial) resilience, extreme poverty, improving the quality of life, social entrepreneurship, and applying a more businesslike and evidence-based approach to development projects. I also enjoy writing columns or articles.

I enjoy working for foundations, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, philanthropists, or development organizations. 

Who Do I Work For? 

Since August of 2019, I have been affiliated with Friendship NL as a part-time director.

This organization supports Friendship Bangladesh, a passionate and effective local organization that focuses on finding sustainable and integrated solutions for the world’s poorest and often forgotten populations living in the delta region of North Bangladesh. >> Click here to learn more about this organization. <<

I am also involved in the Tunafasi pilot project in Uvira, eastern Congo, where I assist ADED (Appuie au Developpement de l’enfant en detresse) in transforming a charitable organization into one that carries out structural and inclusive development projects. This is done through Impaction Foundation. 

I have also worked as a consultant for organizations such as Stichting Kind en Oor, SNS Volksbank, and Amref Flying Doctors NL. 

Besides, I use my managerial experience as a member of the Supervisory Board of both The Plastic Soup Organization and Action Aid Nederland.

New book, just released…

In ‘Mensen ontwikkelen zichzelf” (People develop themselves’),  Betteke tells the compelling story of her experiences in Nepal, Congo and Bangladesh, and offers a critical view of the development sector. How can you help a community to get out of the spiral of poverty and stand on its own feet? Aid organizations should ask themselves that question more often, says Betteke. In 2007 she started as director of a philantropic fund that works for children with a disability and their families in Nepal. From the beginning, the organisation has opted for an unusual approach. Small-scale pilot projects are being set up and the local population contributes with their own money. The aim is to make the aid redundant as soon as possible. According to Betteke  many organizations do not sufficiently question whether the aid is in line with the possibilities and needs of the local population. And it is precisely this attitude that hinders real progress. After all, you cannot develop people – people develop themselves.

In the Media:

‘We’re too quick to get into the help reflex’ Article in the Gooi & Eemlander on the occasion of the recently published book People develop themselves in Feb. 2022
Interview with Vrij Nederland December 2018

 Double interview with Sara Kinsbergen, December 2017

•   Article in Opzij September 2016 •  Review of Inclusive Leadership in Vice Versa December 2012 • Chapter 3 in the book, Towards a Fair and Just Economy; Inspire2Care. Application of the principles of social business in Nepal’s health and disability sector, October 2018



Betteke de Gaay Fortman

Van Ostadelaan 20

1399EZ Muiderberg

Telefoon: 06 30 61 00 77