Dare 2 Dream Annual General Meeting Wednesday 12th August 2015
As Dare 2 Dream approaches the 4th anniversary of its foundation it is with a sense of achievement that we can reflect on the successes and learning experiences of the past year. We are a small but active group who share a common commitment to utilizing our time and talents to offer a ‘hand up’ to those who need it.
The 2014-15 Executive consisted of 14 members:
Rita Shepherd (President), Vince Ruggiero (Vice-President), Lina Martino (Treasurer), Jude Hamilton (Secretary),Cate McGuire, Emily Bain, Andrew Shepherd, Jorja Barnard, Carolyne Ryan, Ally Slaven, Lisa Slaven, Robert Shepherd, Jo Riccio and Madeleine Reichstein. 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, managing Child Sponsorship, re-building 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. One would find it hard to find a nicer group of people with which to work. It is particularly gratifying to see past Pilgrims joining the management group and taking on significant responsibilities in running D2D. Recently, Tony Fogarty was back voluntarily auditing the accounts of Dare 2 Dream. His help and advice is valued greatly.
The Dare 2 Dream Foundation began with 11 members. This is growing slowly and currently membership stands at 35
Without financial resources, it would be impossible for Dare 2 Dream to engage in any meaningful projects. To this end many varied fundraising activities have taken place over the last year:
August 2014: D2D Committee fund raising and promotional dinner at Ganges Restaurant
September 2014: Fundraising dinner at Chennai Palace run by the Pilgrimage Team
October 2014: Stall at St Dominic’s Fete
BBQ at St Dominic’s Priory College
November 2014: Sale of Christmas cards made by Yuva Jyothi Children
February 2015: Bottle recycling and stall at St Dominic’s after the Family Mass
Ice cream sales at St Dominic’s Priory College
March 2015: Stall at Prospect Fair (convened by Vince Ruggiero)
April 2015: BBQ stall at St Dominic’s Priory College
May 2015 : Mother’s Day Raffle (Organised by Milly Ruggiero)
June 2015 : BBQ stall at St Dominic’s Priory College
Small business fundraisers from Year 10 Commerce students
Bottle re-cycling at St Dominic’s Priory College
August 2015 : Committee Fundraising Dinner at Chennai Palace restaurant
On- going: Sale of Spice Packs and hand-made cards
The support of students, parents and staff from St Dominic’s has been pivotal in fundraising. In particular I would like to especially thank Chris Short and his team of teachers and parents for their very significant contribution.
Locally we made a donation to the Cancer Council.
Our main support has however been for the work of ICID, our partner organization in Nagpur. We are currently supporting four projects:
Yuva Joythi (YJ): Currently there are 49 children under the care of the Yuva Jyothi Children’s Home. The main source of funding Yuva Jyothi has been the Child Sponsorship Program. Currently in its sixth year of operation, 49 children are being sponsored by 46 sponsors. YJ places great importance upon strengthening the relationships between the children and their families, strongly believing in the importance of family ties and reintegration. D2D support also provides one boy with vocational training to help ensure his economic independence. 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, Christmas cards and thank you cards from the children. Thanks go to Carolyne Ryan and more recently Ally Slaven for taking over the role of sponsorship officer as this is a growing area and an important source of reliable funding for Yuva Jyothi.
The Nirmal Jyothi Program is implemented at Gittikhadan. We have been funding this program for the past 3 years. Within the last year, the project has demonstrated a commendable decrease in school dropouts, with many beneficiaries preferring attendance over beggary and rag picking. Through the awareness and education components of the project, five children were re-admitted to school and others chose to partake in vocational training. The regular presence of the team ensured a 100 percent immunization rate of the children within the target community, a commendable achievement. Sixty-three young women benefitted from home management training with participants instructed in nutrition, health care and income generating activities. The vocation training and livelihood opportunities programs provided training for 114 youth and women in different trades, such as tailoring, handbag, soap and detergent making, and driving. As part of the project, D2D also provided a crèche, offered tutoring, library and hygiene services, provided children with supplementary nutrition, organized parent-teacher meetings, and led life-skills and child rights advocacy workshops. Though the program has faced its fair share of difficulties, the vast achievements as listed above speak volumes for the success and positive effect that ICID and D2D are having within the target communities. The level of disadvantage is very great in this community and it will take several years before significant improvement in the living standards of people is realised.
Manini 1(Sanskrit for resolute): This project is in the final stage of Dare 2 Dream’s involvement. An evaluation of the program undertaken by dare 2 Dream in July 2014 indicated that the results surpassed all expectations. Forty women were trained in tailoring and small business management with on average family incomes of participants doubling to an average of R/- 5000 per month. While still below the poverty line, this improvement has had unexpected benefits such as a reduction in domestic violence rates and empowerment of the women involved. The project is now in a self- sustaining phase with 4 groups of women subsequently being trained. All participants interviewed during the research conducted, expressed their thanks and appreciation to Dare 2 Dream.
Manini 2. (Goat Project) Rural poverty is an enormous problem in the villages surrounding Nagpur. With the funding and support of D2D, 23 women from the small village of Bothali, Nagpur district, have been chosen to participate in a goat raising program, one of several vehicles identified for generating income and boosting livelihoods (see photo below). Manini 2 has ensured that the participants have had high quality instruction from veterinarians regarding feed management, vaccination, breeding, and the care of pregnant goats. Two goats were purchased per participant from a local market in November 2014, and a series of agreements were signed by all to ensure that the goats would be properly cared for and that any female kids born would be passed on to new beneficiaries as identified by ICID. Since its implementation, Manini 2 beneficiaries now have 23 male kids and nine female kids. As part of the project, team members have organized many workshops and meetings concerning motivation, sensitization, empowerment and sustainable development. This is initially a 2 year project that will be funded until mid -2016.
Yuva Jyothi children received a new set of clothes each and an outing as Christmas gifts from Dare 2 Dream. Additionally in April much to the excitement of the children, 2 LED TV sets were donated to YJ. A large quantity of indoor games as well as sporting equipment was donated and as the children were on summer holidays at the time, good use was made of these items. 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. This funding helps to maintain staff stability which is beneficial to the children at YJ and also continuance of the projects.
In August 2014 Emily Bain and Andrew Shepherd visited ICID to monitor programs and liaise on behalf of Dare 2 Dream. They were kept busy by Fr Harry who appreciated their assistance in writing and editing policy and other documents. Having visited on previous occasions, Andrew and Emily’s report focussed on the many positive changes evident at YJ including improved facilities at the centre and a settled harmonious atmosphere at the home.
In December 2014, the fourth St Dominic’s Pilgrimage group visited Nagpur and undertook volunteer work at YJ and also in Bangalore at the crèche run by the Dominican Sisters. D2D made a donation to the work of the sisters in Bangalore.
In July 2015 Bayden Daly and Meggan Boag, D2D volunteers spent time at Yuva Jyothi assisting with the joint ICID and D2D programs. These talented young people were very helpful and contributed a range of skills. We thank them for their generous spirit, the newsletter they produced, for updating the profiles of the children at YJ, giving them computer lessons and taking the time to get to know the children.
Dare 2 Dream has provided assistance to ICID in formulating and documenting policy and digitalizing paper records. Four laptops were donated to ICID during 2014-15 and these have been used in the main by staff.
Promotion of Dare 2 Dream
During 2015, Madeleine Reichstein took on the job of re-building D2D’s website which is now complete and operational. Maddy is keeping it up to date and this will be the flag ship of our organisation publicising events and activities.
The Dare 2 Dream Facebook page contains updates and news. This is a way of keeping our supporters informed of what’s happening and we are hoping that in 2015 our Facebook will be revitalized.
The Dare 2 Dream logo is our brand and its positioning on the Spice Packs is an important way of publicising Dare 2 Dream. We have some regular customers whose feedback and that of others is that we are providing a good product at a reasonable cost. As an ongoing income source, Spice Pack sales have the potential to grow in the future. We thank the Ruggerio Family for co-ordinating the packaging.
The stall at the Prospect Fair in March proved to be a successful method of promoting our organisation to the wider community. Information was distributed via pamphlets and also orally by our volunteers. There was a brisk trade in Vince’s slinky potatoes which proved to be a winner and sales of our India goods continued to be successful
Future Plans and challenges
Fundraising and sourcing donations from sponsors is becoming increasingly difficult when there is a plethora of organisations similar to ours competing for donations. We thank Lisa Slaven for her tireless effort in sourcing donations. Our biggest strength is that that 98 cents in every dollar goes to our beneficiaries and we need to continue to promote this.
We have plans to hold stalls at the Jamestown and Minlaton Shows in October to expand our market for Indian goods which are proving to be a good revenue raiser.
There is a need for a care facility for girls. Government regulations will not allow Yuva Jyothi to care for both boys and girls. At present we must continue to have the girls housed in boarding schools or with other organizations with the financial support coming from us.
The Centre at Gittikhadan is too small to house the sewing classes, as well as the library and informal education programs. An additional building is needed at an approximate cost of $ 10,000.
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 also ensure a financial buffer to cover the “lean leans’ when there may be a short fall in fundraising.
There is a need to pursue corporate sponsorship. Our efforts to date have not yielded any results.
By growing the supporter base of Dare 2 Dream we can spread the work load of the organization therefore it is important to have a vibrant and active management committee.
As a grass roots organisation that is entirely reliant on volunteers, Dare 2 Dream and its supporters have been able to achieve a great deal over the past 12 months. Australians are generous people and our organization is a catalyst for change and serves to unite people in a common mission which is to improve the future to those living in difficult circumstances. I offer sincere thanks to all who have contributed to the work of Dare 2 Dream and I look forward optimistically to the next year and hope that we can continue to make the world a better place.
Rita Shepherd ( President)
8 August 2015