A short biography of Mrs. Elisabeth Steneker

Elisabeth Steneker was born in 1924 in a little village in the north of The Netherlands. She was the second daughter in a Roman Catholic family of six: one boy and five girls. Her father had a small construction firm and her mother was a farmer’s daughter. When she was young she went to a boarding school for girls and studied there to become a teacher.

In 1940 the second world war broke out and The Netherlands were occupied by the Germans. Her father and brother had to go underground, because they refused to work for the enemy. During that time she experienced what it means to live in poor and dangerous circumstances.
In 1946, when the war was over, the Roman Catholic bishop in The Netherlands asked her to assist him in initiating a Youth Development Project for boys and girls above the age of 17. During 11 years Liesbeth Steneker dedicated herself wholeheartedly to this task.

In 1957 she went to the university to study sociology which was a very interesting challenge for her. After finishing her university education she worked in different cities in The Netherlands until her retirement. She was a teacher in colleges for social and nursing studies and she also taught at the sociological faculty of the university. In those days it was not allowed for a catholic woman to work outside the house and to be married at the same time. Therefore she remained single. This she regretted very much as she always had dreamt of starting a family and have three children of her own and three children who she would adopt.

In 1992 a new field of studies was initiated at the university of Nijmegen: “Studies of the great world religions”. After all these years of teaching she decided, at the age of 68, to become a student again. During that study she got acquainted with Buddhism and she was very happy and grateful to learn about this filosophy. 

Through the publications of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the stories of some of her friends who visited India to support Tibetan refugees, she heard how difficult life was for the elderly Tibetans who had fled Tibet since 1959. This was the reason for her to start the ‘Ama Youdon Foundation’ to help and support the elderly Tibetans in and around Dekyling. After her death a part of her inheritance went to this Foundation, with the best wishes for all Tibetans in India and with hope and prayers for a peaceful solution of the problems between Tibet and China.