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In 2017, just prior to BELTA Day, our annual conference, we received an anonymous donation of €1200, with the stipulation that the money was to be earmarked towards encouraging Belgian English language teachers to attend the IATEFL conference in the UK. IATEFL is the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, to which BELTA is affiliated. In accordance with this stipulation, we developed two grants:
The IATEFL Travel Grant – which was awarded to one lucky raffle winner on BELTA Day 2017. It offered €600 towards the expense of attending IATEFL 2018 as a participant.
The Belgian Presenter’s IATEFL Travel Grant – which was awarded to one BELTA member who was also a citizen of Belgium and offered €600 towards the expense of travelling to and presenting a session at IATEFL 2018.
It was always our hope that these two grants would continue to be presented at future BELTA Day events, contingent on funds.
Then, shockingly, two weeks after BELTA Day 2017, BELTA Board member Joris De Roy suddenly passed away. According to Joris’ widow, it was his wish to keep the spirit of these ‘scholarships’ alive, which is why a fund was set up by Joris’ family with the idea that it would be turned over to BELTA as a scholarship fund for professional development aid for Belgian English language teachers. At the same time, we renamed the The IATEFL Travel Grant to The Joris De Roy Memorial Travel Grant.
In keeping with Joris’ wishes, BELTA has established a separate bank account dedicated to his request. We are extremely fortunate that the initial seed money has been donated from Joris’ family and close friends.