The Foundation

Created in 2006, in memory of Jean-François by his parents, Jean and Françoise Peterbroeck, and his two sisters, Véronique and Virginie, the Foundation aims to support people with autism in Belgium, and to help children in distress, particularly in developing countries.

Following the accidental death of Jean-François Peterbroeck, a young man of 22 who was very open and sensitive to the social realities of this world, his parents decided to take concrete steps, through a foundation, to provide some assistance in issues close to their hearts.

The JFP Foundation is the result of a long thought process by the members of a family who are concerned about current social and economic realities, and who want to help to meet priority needs in these areas.

The Foundation is managed directly by the family of Jean Peterbroeck, whose children have developed a social conscience which has taken the form of real personal commitment.

As Virginie had a son diagnosed with high-functioning autism, the Peterbroeck family took the initiative of creating a facility to support these young people.

Their commitment also focused on helping children in distress, particularly in developing countries.

Major observations

Initially, Jean and Françoise Peterbroeck wanted to develop the sensitivities of their two daughters, and respond to two main concerns, namely :

- 'Autism' component: the absence of secondary school facilities to support, care for and educate children affected by high-functioning autism in French-speaking Belgium.

- 'Childhood and Development' component: the existence of many situations of poverty, discrimination and injustice in which certain categories of children find themselves (children who are abandoned or displaced, orphans, victims of child labour, conflicts or social poverty, victims of climate change, etc.), for which answers can be found.


Main priority actions of the Autism component

Objective : The objective is to offer adolescents with moderate and high-functioning autism aged 13 to 21, an educational establishment that is suited to their needs. The ultimate objective is to lead them towards personal, social and professional independence, allowing them to find the best possible place in society.

Intervention : The JFP Foundation provides for the day-to-day running of the 'Ecole des Quatre Vents' (Four Winds School), located in Neder-Over-Heembeek. The school offers a secondary education with teaching methods suitable for young autistic adolescents, via individual support for each of its pupils, adapted to their potential and their pace.


Main key activities of the Childhood and Development component

Objectives : In practical terms, the foundation aims to combat situations of poverty, discrimination and injustice in which too many children find themselves in developing countries (children who are abandoned or displaced, orphans, victims of child labour, conflicts, social poverty and climate change...) through 'integrated' projects conducted via local partnerships in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The actions implemented are aimed at restoring the children's confidence and giving them a better future in a family and community environment.

A few themes for involvement :

  • listening, supporting,
  • education, training,
  • hygiene and health conditions (linked to the environment and housing),
  • family and local economy.

The ‘Fondation Jean-François Peterbroeck’ (Jean-François Peterbroeck Foundation) is a family foundation under private law. It is also supported by a handful of volunteer directors. Its activities are managed on a day-to-day basis by two managing directors who also call on external skills and expertise.

The foundation's Board of Directors is composed as follows:

Founding directors (appointed for an unlimited period):

Françoise Peterbroeck-Dufrasne (president)

Véronique Mairlot-Peterbroeck (day-to-day administration - 'Childhood and Development' component);

Virginie Haelterman-Peterbroeck Virginie (day-to-day administration -  'Autism' component)

Directors appointed for six years (renewable mandates):

  • Guy Lerminiaux
  • Fritz Mertens
  • Pascal Minne
  • Michel Peterbroeck

Since it was created, the 'Childhood and Development' component has regularly used consultancy services, particularly for international cooperation. 

The activities of the 'École des 4 Vents' (Four Winds School) are supervised and managed by professional staff, who are specifically trained in issues related to autism.

The creation of the foundation in 2006 was both the conclusion of the family's thought process on specific issues, and the official start of social action to support children both in Belgium and worldwide. You will find the key moments of its history below.



30 June 2006

Jean and Françoise Peterbroeck create the ‘Fondation Jean-François Peterbroeck’.

February 2007

Véronique Mairlot Peterbroeck (VMP) takes on the 'Childhood and Development' humanitarian component.

Virginie Haelterman Peterbroeck takes on the ‘Autism’ component.


The foundation is structured and begins financing the first projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, India, Vietnam, Brazil and Madagascar. 

October 2007

VMP conducts first follow-up mission in the context of the ‘Childhood and Development’ component in Vietnam.*

January 2008

Inauguration of the first phase of the construction of the REMA hospital in Ruyigi attended by Jean and Françoise Peterbroeck together with VMP and François Mairlot (and many other guests); follow-up mission for projects in the DRC (involving the same people).

September 2008

The first class at the 'École des 4 Vents' is formed with four young people in a bungalow in Neder-Over-Heembeek.

The first brick of the new school is laid on the same site.

November 2008

A logo is created for the foundation, based on a painting by Françoise Peterbroeck.

September 2009

First school year starts in the École des 4 Vents's new building (10 pupils).

February 2010

A round table on the theme of autism is organised at the School, attended by Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

September 2010

The 'École des 4 Vents' becomes the site for the 'Institut Notre Dame de Joie'. The school is recognised by the French Community of Belgium.

27 May 2011

Death of Jean Peterbroeck, co-founding president of the foundation. 

27 September 2011

Annual meeting of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Françoise Peterbroeck-Dufrasne is appointed as president, Véronique and Virginie Peterbroeck are respectively appointed as managing directors of the 'Childhood and Development' and 'Autism' components (statutes are modified, the foundation is registered in the ‘Moniteur Belge’ (Belgian Official Journal)). 

June 2014

Florence Tellier joins the Foundation as a staff member / project manager.

April 2016

The Foundation's general policy document is updated and approved by the Board of Directors.

April 2016

The Foundation is co-beneficiary of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity through Marguerite Barankitse, the first winner of the prize.

May 2017

Laetitia Mairlot, John Mairlot and Eric Haelterman join the Board of Directors.

* Support, follow-up and assessment visits are regularly organised for the various projects supported by the foundation.