Dare 2 Dream Annual General Meeting Wednesday 12th August 2020 - Presidents Report
As an organisation whose mission is to empower underprivileged communities in the developing world and in Australia with knowledge, skills and resources to improve quality of life, I believe that Dare 2 Dream has been most successful in fulfilling and furthering this mission in 2018-2019 It continues to be an active and vibrant support group thanks to a small but dedicated Executive Committee and the support of the members and the wider community.
The 2019-2020 Executive consisted of 16 members:
Rita Shepherd (President), Vince Ruggiero (Vice-President), Ron Carey (Treasurer), Jo Riccio (Secretary) Helen Barnard, Lisa Slaven, Robert Shepherd, Madeleine Reichstein, Milly Ruggiero, Janet Ruggiero, Daniella Colangelo, Danielle Nicholas, Paris Caldwell, and Cate Mc Guire. Peter Adams and Daniella Zuppa were seconded to the committee in December and July respectively as Assistant Treasurers. This relatively small committee is a vibrant and talented group who have given many hours of their personal time, outside of the formal committee meetings to work on sub-committee projects and events.
Their contribution has been enormous in helping to manage the many facets of our Foundation including providing management advice, organising fundraising activities, sourcing donations, managing Child Sponsorship, managing the website, maintaining communication with members, managing the finances and promoting Dare 2 Dream and its work. I am most grateful for their dedication and untiring work and their selflessness in making the time in their busy lives to help others. I would like to offer special thanks to Ron Carey and Peter Adams for transitioning the accounts to MYOB and taking over the Treasurer’s role. Tony Fogarty has voluntarily audited the accounts of Dare2Dream since its inception and we sincerely thank him for this.
The Dare 2 Dream Foundation was established in 2011 with 12 members. This is growing slowly and currently there are 50 members
We are most grateful to the Committee members, family, friends, and community members who have supported our activities over the past 12 months. While our organisation serves to raise awareness about disadvantage and the impact it has on lives, we are more than that. We are action based and an agent for change. Many of the events run have been to generate the funds to run grass roots programs. The calendar of events over the past 12 months is as follows:
July 2019: Stall at Orroroo
November 2019: Bottle recycling at St Dominic’s Priory College
BBQ at St Dominic’s Priory College
Stall at Prospect Fair
February 2020: Bottle recycling at St Dominic’s
April 2020: Sponsor a meal for a child Appeal at SDPC
May-June 2020: Fundraising Appeal.
Covid-19 has severely restricted fundraising in 2020. There is no SDPC Pilgrimage in 2020 so parent/pilgrim input will not occur. The D2D fundraising Committee with the approval of all the committee agreed that in 2020 D2D would use its reserves to support ICID.
Our main support has been for the work of ICID, our partner organization in Nagpur. We are currently supporting three projects:
1. Yuva Jyothi Children’s Home (YCH):
Currently there are 46 children under the care of the Yuva Jyothi Children’s Home; 42 boys and 4 girls. The main source of funding Yuva Jyothi has been the Child Sponsorship Program. Currently in its 12th year of operation, all the children are benefitting from the Child Sponsorship Program. YCH places great importance upon strengthening the relationships between the children and their families, strongly believing in the importance of family ties and reintegration. The whole program of YCH is directed towards the holistic development of the children. Child Sponsorship funds contributed to regular facilities like accommodation, food, clothing, health, hygiene, counselling, recreation, sports, school education, life skill education, tuition, recreational activities, and celebration of festivals, picnics, sports, vocational training and family reunion.
A core group of sponsors have been providing financial support since the inception of the program in 2009 and it is our aim to increase the number who maintain their sponsorship. We believe a key to this is providing regular information to sponsors about the children at YJ. To this end, sponsors have received news from ICID, and Christmas cards. Thanks goes and Danielle Nicholas and Rob Shepherd for promoting and managing the Child Sponsorship program as it is an important source of reliable funding for Yuva Jyothi. Increasing costs in India have seen 3 tiers of sponsorship implemented- gold, silver and bronze. All sponsors were sent an invitation to upgrade from bronze, but few have taken up that option indicating that the $20/ month price point is what most people can afford.
2. Urja (Energy)
1. Project Location
The project is operating in 3 centres namely Pardi, Yashodhranagar and
Chikali catering to about 10 slum communities having a population of about 12000 in Nagpur city.
2. Target Group
The women, including adolescent girls, will be the primary beneficiaries of the project. The
indirect beneficiaries will be the family members of these women and members of the
3. Context in which the project evolved
ICID has been working with the adolescent female population and their mothers in the
proposed project areas for 12 years. Most of these women work either as domestic help or go around collecting waste of plastic and iron which is sold for recycling. During the ICID meetings with these groups, the women felt that they needed a sustainable alternative option of livelihood that would help them lead a dignified life. The women identified vocational skill building in garment making (tailoring) as the most feasible and viable alternative option that will help their sustenance.
4. Reasons for the selection of the Project areas
The proposed project areas were selected based on the following criteria:
Socio-economically disadvantaged situation of the target groups
The resolve and aspiration of the target groups to fight the socio-economic disadvantage situation and higher possibility of participation and ownership of the programme
Previously established rapport of ICID with the target groups and its commitment to offer an alternative to come out of their disadvantaged socio-economic situation
That it may provide a successful model to be replicated in other slum communities
Dare 2 Dream is funding Urja for 3 years and has signed a formal partnership agreement with ICID and has been receiving regular reports. Funding began in September 2019.
In October 2019 Rita and Rob Shepherd together with Peter Melnyk and Lyndal Evans spent time in Nagpur assisting ICID. Lyndal worked with trainers and participants of Urja for 3 weeks teaching them advanced sewing skills and pattern drafting. She showed them how to use an overlocker machine donated by a friend and how to recycle old saris into scarves. A large quantity of sewing materials was donated to the Urja project. Due to poor attendance at one Centre D2D approved an amendment to the original Urja Proposal the Nirmal Jyothi Centre was substituted instead. Another overlocker has been donated by Lyndal and will be taken to Nagpur when the next group visits. Rita and Rob stayed on at YCH for an additional 6 weeks assisting ICID with Policy writing tasks, visiting project centres, and organising things needed by D2D.
One of the Centres at Gittikadan was extended to 4 times its original size with D2D funds donated for this purpose by two supporters. It was being used for Urja sewing classes and as a community Centre until the Covid -19 lock down and then it became a distribution Centre for food parcels. At the time of writing all the Urja Centres are closed. It is likely that D2D will need to extend Urja funding for 12 months.
3. COVID Emergency Relief:
Nagpur is a destination for many migrants who work in unskilled daily paid work. Maharashtra State has been severely affected by the Covid-19 virus. The state has been a red zone since February and in lock down. The YJ children have not been to school since then, some having exams cancelled part way through the schedule. While the YJ children are safe, the plight of the daily paid workers has been terrible. There is no work, no government benefits, no medical help, and the poor have no reserves. They were literally starving. ICID has made and distributed 150,000 meals and over 2,500 food parcels to the poor in Nagpur, The YJ boys have helped prepare and pack the food which has been distributed by Fr Harry and a small group of volunteers. The cost has been enormous and stretched the resources of ICID. To date D2D has continued to remit funds to Nagpur $26,500 to date. The Urja Project has been suspended but the Norrie de Rozario Centre has been used to distribute food. We are expecting that ICID will ask that the Urja funds we have sent this year be used for emergency relief and that Urja funding is extended for 12 months.
Dare 2 Dream continues to fund wages for project staff and also provides ‘top up’ salaries to some of the social workers, staff at YJ and a small honorarium to Fr Harry and the 2 priests in the Martin Nagar Community. This funding helps to maintain staff stability which is beneficial to the children at YJ and continuance of the projects.
We are fortunate to be partnering with ICID which complies with the high level of accountability for funding we provide.
Promotion of Dare 2 Dream
Madeleine Reichstein is D2D’s website manager who keeps it up to date publicising events and activities. She has posted photos and updates of the Covid situation in Nagpur
The Dare 2 Dream Facebook page contains updates and news. This is a way of keeping our supporters informed of what is happening and has been managed by Milly Ruggiero
Prospect Council changed the venue in 2017 to Broadview Oval and the timing was moved to October. It was decided to try selling recycled clothing and Indian goods in 2019. We thank Vince Ruggiero and his helpers including Lisa Slaven for taking the lead in this.
There has been limited opportunity to publicise D2D this year through our usual means associated with fundraisers
Future Plans and challenges
Fundraising and sourcing donations from sponsors are becoming increasingly difficult when there is a plethora of organisations like ours competing for donations. Our biggest strength is that that 98 cents in every dollar goes to our beneficiaries and we need to continue to promote this.
In 2019-2020 D2D has had to spend money on goods and services provided free by SDPC previously including an MYOB licence and credit card facilities. From August 2020 Daniella Zuppa has organised for Perks Accountants to provide ‘Zero’ accounting software free to D2D. Rob Shepherd has asked sponsors to move from credit card sponsorship deductions to bank transfer deposits. Both these changes will reduce costs. There are about 7 sponsors who we will have to pay the 2% credit card fee for. However, we do not want to lose their support. Some supporters are no longer assisting us for various reasons, but we are grateful to Committee members who are recruiting others in their place
We have been relying on our friends and acquaintances to attend functions and for fundraising. There is a need to find other people to involve and to locate other possible venues to sell our goods. The cost of buying goods in India and transporting them back has increased significantly, so it is important to know what will profitably sell in Adelaide.
D2D’s track record has kept us in good stead with some supporters who know what we do and are keen to continue their support. We must continue to maintain our good reputation.
After pursuing corporate donations, we are now aware that our organisation is too small and not well enough known to offer reciprocal benefits to corporate sponsors. Having completed two projects with measurable success, D2D has investigated government funding for projects but funding has dried up as money is diverted into Covid stimulus packages.
All members of the D2D Committee are volunteers and busy people. Sharing the workload is important as is succession planning for younger members of the Committee to take on leadership roles in the future.
Fundraising events by the Committee have been fewer in 2019-2020 than the previous year. I believe it is important for Committee members to take the initiative in convening events and coming up with fundraising initiatives during Covid-19.
D2D is working towards financial sustainability of our own organization. We must balance supporting current projects with the need to look ahead to bigger projects and ensure a financial buffer to cover the “lean years’ when there may be a short fall in fundraising. Such as this year.
By growing the supporter base of Dare 2 Dream we can spread the workload of the organization therefore it is important to have a vibrant and active management committee.
Child Sponsorship costs have doubled over the past 12 years, but sponsors have generally chosen to continue to contribute $20 per month. We are mindful of not losing sponsors who cannot afford more than the $20 per month., so must work to increase the number of sponsors.
I believe the future of Dare 2 Dream is not assured. We are a grass-roots organisation which means raising the funds for projects to which we have committed. We are struggling to do this. Pilgrimages from St Dominic’s have assisted with fundraising in alternate years but the future of these relies on staff from the school and parents who are willing to be involved. It is very uncertain that we will be assisted by SDPC in the future therefore we need to find other sources of support.
There is no doubt that all members of the Dare 2 Dream Committee firmly believe in the mission of our organisation and are prepared to be advocates for the socially and economically disadvantaged people in India who we assist. Our challenge is to keep translating this into practical actions that change lives for the better.
I sincerely thank all who have contributed to the work of Dare2Dream and I look forward optimistically to the next year and hope that we can continue to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
Rita Shepherd (President)
20 July 2020