About Ylva van de Berg
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”
– Maya Angelou
The name Noura has personal significance for Ylva van den Berg (born Amsterdam, 1979). In addition to combining the names of her daughter and son, the name Noura has its origins in Arabic. The Arabic meaning is “light,” “inner light” and “enlightenment.
Ylva has a close connection to the Arab world for many reasons. It is the place where her humanitarian work with children in conflict zones and on the run began. The Middle East is also the place where her own family was born, and where she herself was unexpectedly confronted with the themes of grief and loss as a result of a profound and conflict-related event in her personal life.
After studying Social Work at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, her Bachelor of Language and Cultural Studies Arabic and her Master of Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Utrecht, she lived in the Middle East for ten years where she worked for War Child as a psychosocial consultant and child protection expert.
Ylva’s early curiosity about other cultures caused Ylva to spend extended periods away from home at an early age to study foreign languages and cultures. In addition to the Middle East, Ylva has lived and worked in South Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central America.
After the Middle East, she stayed in Greece at the time of the migrant and refugee crisis to direct the psycho-social and child protection program for Save the Children. Her responsibilities included setting up and overseeing a shelter for single children and youth on the run. In addition to children from refugee and war backgrounds, Ylva also has specific experience working with children in detention and children within special education.
In late 2018, Ylva moved back to Amsterdam and continued her humanitarian work as a consultant so she could enjoy more freedom to spend time with her own children and create space for new directions. After directing and developing programs for international organizations, Ylva missed direct contact with children and their systems. She started the two-year Master’s program in play therapy, with a specialization in play therapy for refugee children. She also trained as a children’s yoga teacher and therapeutic children’s yoga out of her own passion for yoga and belief in the healing power of movement. Setting up Noura is a dream come true to contribute in her own way to the protection and recovery of this special group of children and their families.