After the last supplies for our Dominica Mission has been distributed in December 2018, we wanted to do so more and talked to the principals of obviously damaged schools. We talked about their needs and the situation more than a year after the devastating hurricane MARIA. In 2019 there was still a lot to do and we learned how simple a little help can change everything. All it needs are a couple dollars for material and a bunch of volunteers that are willing to get the hands dirty. We don't know yet how the project will work out, so we put the progress in YouTube episodes together. Starting with Episode 1 where we talk to the principals and get to know what they are struggling with.
First we got to know what the needs are and why so much time has passed without help from Government, Relief funds or NGO's. Most projects ended up on a waiting list and got stuck there. Now we try a new approach to help the schools of Dominica to get back to normal again. We try to skip this critical administrative bureaucracy created by organizations, pull together and just get it done. Funds don't have to be collected. Donations can be sent straight to the schools bank accounts. Once they have the funds, we can help them to get the projects arranged. Local business come first to support, but where labour is needed, the sailing community is ready to volunteer. On this page, we report about the progress of our individual projects and what it is all about.
In Dominica and later in Antigua, we met the wonderful crew of SV DELOS and had dinner together. Brian came up with a brilliant idea to help us with the fundraising for the schools in Dominica. He came over with Karin the other day to do an "Interview with a cruiser" with us and announced, to match every donated dollar for the "Sailing for a Smile" project in Dominica up to the first thousand dollar. If you donate 5.- to the DELOS fundraising, they gonna send 10.- to the schools. A man - A word!
The biggest problem was labour. It was still hard to find somebody that was free to work on constructional damages and leaking roofes. A lot of people have left the island. We started to care for simple repair works our self and fixed certain issues like broken windows, doors, screens and things like this with the help of volunteers from the sailing community. In the meantime, Brian informed us about a great feedback to the disaster relief fundraising. More than $US 15'000 came together. The schools reported money receipts from several donors on their bank accounts and quickly we started to arrange help for even more projects.
The funds from the DELOS fundraising was enough to cover several projects. Brian wire transfered the funds accordingly to the individual projects in portions directly to the schools bank accounts. Where there was no official bank account like for the preschool in Mahaut, the money was transferred to the local craftsmen account that did the job. Once the schools received the money, we met again to guide trough the next steps like hiring further local workers and to buy materials. We got great help from the Sailing Commuity again and also a lot of volunteers helped to get the damages fixed. Now, there is a new roof for the Mahaut Preeschool, a new kitchen is in the making for the CALLS Center in Portsmouth and we are organizing actually a feeding program for the St. Johns primary school.
This is the last episode of the "Sailing for a Smile" project in Dominica. It doesn't mean that the project is over yet, but we will stop making videos about it. This last video summarizes the whole story again and shows the results of the efforts. We wanna thank everybody that contributed to the project and are happy to pass on the gratitude. Special thanks go to the amazing SV DELOS team and the DELOS Tribe. You guys were awesome! Thank you very much. But also big up to all sailors that came to volunteer and helped to make a better future for this kids of Dominica. It was exciting to see what is possible when good people work together and accomplish all that out of nothing. Thank you very much!
Repair of broken doors and screen, replacement of missing and broken windows to secure classrooms. Paint job of second classroom building. Kitchen repair to reopen feeding program. (5 Volunteers from Finland and Canada)
Delivery of cloths, food and supplies, building bunk beds for the homeless & painting room
Delivery of emergency bed and supplies
Delivery of sports equipment and supplies
Several rebuilds in the daycare area and constuctional repairs, new kitchen for the hospitality class and daycare. Feeding program and scholarship (9 Volunteers from Norway, Germany and Italy)
New galvanized roof. (3 Volunteers from Columbia, Netherland and France)
Sailing for a Smile was a new approach to help efficient with the rebuild of hurricane damaged schools and educational institutions in Dominica. It was a great success and we accomplished much more than we thought we'd be capable of. However, nobody could bring the whole story better to the point than Captain Brian. Check out this great blog article about Using Social Media Influence as a Multiplier for Charity- By Brian