Seventeen local organizations today received financial donations totalling over $100,000, thanks to the charitable work of the Canadian Women’s Club of Barbados (CWC).
In addressing the gathering this morning at the Canadian High Commission’s Bishop’s Court Hill headquarters, High Commissioner Marie Legault praised the tremendous work being done by the Club, which was founded almost a hundred years ago – in 1922 – to promote friendship among women with common ties to Canada; to promote strong ties between Canada and Barbados and to support local charities, especially those serving the needs of women or children.
Since then, the group has been making annual donations to various societal groups using its annual golf tournament as its major fundraiser.
Last year’s tournament raised a total of $101,300 in support of charity.
To laughter from members of the gathering, Legault suggested that perhaps the time had come for there to be a men’s chapter of the volunteer organization with the same objectives as the women’s group.
“We are in 2017 and an idea would be to perhaps expands the group to have also men,” the ambassador jokingly said, adding that, “As you know gender parity in Canada is important, we usually talk about women parity, but in this case I will advocate for men.”
When it was her turn at the microphone, CWC’s Community Services Chairperson Ann Smith said the 95-year-old organization was proud to continue its tradition of giving.
She explained that the monies raised through its 2016 golf tournament will go towards assisting the youth, the elderly, women in need, children and distressed families across the country, while thanking the beneficieries for their “tremendous” work in assisting the vulnerable.
Smith also thanked members for their donations of food items and clothing during the year which have already been distributed to the relevant authorities.
Today, representatives of the 17 beneficiary groups openly shared stories and expressed their gratitude as they accepted their money donations.
Among them the Burnscar Garment & Orthotic Fund for Children, formed back in 1984, which currently assists on average about 14 children with burns who have to wear special garments for about 12-18 months.
The Barbados Diabetes Foundation and the Diabetes Association of Barbados were also among the grateful recipients of financial support, with the Foundation’s representative Patrick Cozier reporting that one of the areas of challenge for his organization was child obesity, given local estimates of the disease, which run as high as 22 per cent.
“A lot of those [children] go on to be pre diabetics and diabetics,” he said, adding, “We are trying to attack that problem and we have just launched a pilot programme called, A Healthy Lunchbox which is aimed at trying to change eating habits from as early as the primary school level.”
With Barbados “unfortunately” known as the amputee capital of the world, Cozier said the Foundation was also focused on “limb salvage” and developing specialist podiatric care skills and wound care management.
“So that your efforts and your contributions will be instrumental in helping to move these programmes ahead and for that we are truly grateful,” he told members of the Club.
Added to the list of recipients this year for the first time is the Nature Fun Ranch, whose founder Corey Lane said the concept was born 19 years ago to give a new lease on life to young people who believe there is no hope.
“As a very little boy, I had concerns about where my peers were going – on to the block, dropping out of school and so on and I sought to stand up and do something about it . . . and basically what we do, is that we give a new lease on life to young men and women who believe there is no hope; we give them that affirmation, that opportunity, that empowerment to be somebody, be something in society, whether it is the horseback riding programme, the agricultural programme, the business, the assistance with school . . . because a lot of them come and they are broken, they suffer some form of abuse and neglect,” he said, in the accepting the donation, which he said would help the group with its operational costs.
The other beneficiaries are the BPW Shelter for Abused Women; Camp Aquarius; Cancer Support Services; the Caribbean Dyslexia Association; the Diabetes Association of Barbados; the Family Welfare Society; Friends of the Geriatric Hospital; the HIV/AIDS Food Bank; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Paediatric Department; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Paediatric Playroom; the Learning Centre; the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the St Vincent de Paul Central Council.