WILLEMSTAD - It is no secret that many neighborhoods have their “own” good samaritans and foundations, such as tante Emma from Fundashon Amigunan di Cristu, that work tirelessly to help the ones in need. People that pour their heart and soul into caring for the most needy in their community and specifically their neighborhoods.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Rotary Club of Curaçao devised a hands on strategy through which critical aid and food supplies are provided directly via key contact persons and institutions in different neighborhoods such as Fuik, Seru Fortuna, Otrobanda, and the area of Banda Bou. These organizations and key people have direct contact and truly understand the needs of this vulnerable group. This approach entails working proactively with several foundations such as Thuiszorg Banda Bou, Stichting De Open Poort Curaçao (Soto, Klein Sta. Martha), Sentro Di Bario Otrobanda (covering Rif, Seri Otrobanda, Kortijn, Seri Domi, Domi Abou, Baraltwijk, Juan Domingo, Mundo Nobo and Charo), Fundashon Amigunan di Cristu (Fuik), and Stichting Shimaruku (Seru Fortuna).
Through this approach, the club has already been able to support 350 families and allocate ANG 50,000 in funds thanks to member donations, fundraising events and private donations from companies such as Maduro Holding, whose gift that was allocated towards Stichting Thuiszorg Banda Bou. Rotary Club of Curaçao organizes two signature fundraising events for charity. The well-known lottery and the Curaçao Corporate Challenge that unfortunately had to be cancelled this year due to the lockdown and social distancing measures.
Stichting Shimaruku is a great example of such a foundation with an impeccable reputation that has been doing good for many years. They started in 1996 giving financial support to provide for a hot meal for the children of Seru Fortuna neighborhood and it is a foundation that traditionally has been supported by Rotary Club of Curaçao.
One striking example why this aid is desperately needed becomes evident through the work done by Stichting Thuiszorg Banda Bou. This foundation’s main priority is caring for mainly the elderly sick in Bandabou. They cover the area from Zegu to Westpunt and cater to patients of mostly 50 plus years. A large part of this group suffers from diabetes. This diabetic group often cannot take their insulin injections due to lack of food. This group is humble, yet proud. They do not want outsiders to know of their dire situation. Most of them actually do receive a pension (AOV). However, the nurses go into the houses mostly on a daily basis and see tremendous poverty despite of or due to their very low income. This concerns a structurally needy group that is certainly not COVID related. However, the COVID crisis has worsened their situation dramatically. The little aid they used to get has disappeared.
This Corona crisis has exposed a big societal problem that already existed. The big challenge that remains is, how to continue caring for the most vulnerable people in our society. There’s certainly merit in the old wisdom: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” But until then, it is important that we continue supporting our people that are in the most dire need.