D&L turns three - see what we did
In March this year, we turned three years old. Although the many plans we had were slowed down by the pandemic outbreak, we're very proud of what we have achieved, and of the amazing support we received from friends, family and supporters.
We started in 2018. It took some time to set up our organisation legally, but we were officially launched on 16 March. The first year, Dots and Loops was funded mainly by us, the founders, and donations by friends to help us launch. Our traditional waffle sale at the annual Mercatino in Ispra brought in over 400€. We also had a great partnership with Diana Button who founded Yoga2Give which helped fund a scholarship programme in India and Nepal. We got to know the area where we work in Nepal while visiting with our good friend Ngima Sherpa from the Nine Hills Association. We visited it for the first time to provide Days for Girls female hygiene kits and training as well as visit the Crematorium (Ghat) that we funded to build several years earlier. Meeting the local leaders and the people of the villages of the Nine Hills around Damar was crucial for our work over the next years.
In 2018, we also provided special feminine hygiene kits for refugees in Greece.
In 2019, we really got going. The big project of the year was the construction of a new health clinic in Chhermading, in the Sherpa region near Okhaldungha, Nepal. For this, we launched a collection in our large extended family to fund the clinic in the name of Josef Steyaert, our grandfather, who had just passed away. The response was overwhelming and the clinic was fully funded almost immediately. Construction started as soon as the monsoon was over. We visited the area in October and could see the fast progress. In the same area, we could also fund the renovation of the orphanage, disburse the Nimi scholarship funded the previous year, provide pyjamas and other needed supplies for the orphans, and contribute to the salary of the nursing service of the Damar clinic. A special project this year, not expensive but very much appreciated, was the delivery of new backpacks for all the school children - colourful, useful and hopefully stimulating to perform well in school.
In 2019, we also received corporate funding from Lemonade in Belgium, contributions from the Club Europeo in Ispra, and organized several successful events to collect donations, bringing a total of 4500€ in the organisation. We also were at the Fuori Salone in Italy.
In 2020, we established a new contact in India. The RSKS organisation near Ajmer, in Rajasthan, does amazing work with girls and poor rural families and after meeting the head, Dr. Deepak Sharma, we knew we wanted to organise future collaborations together. The Days for Girls workshops were appreciated, but the main project was the Ajmer Education Fund (2350€), supported by a large individual donations from our friends Paola and Lesley (in collaboration with the European School in Karlsruhe).
In the Damar region, we provided a high tech medical backpack for the nurses to facilitate their nursing work in the Nine Hills (90€), purchased all the furniture for the new clinic in Chhermading (2000€), and contributed to the salaries of the two nurses (500€).
COVID-19 slowed down construction work and stopped us travelling to the region. We supported several COVID-19 related projects, including the HHH Fund for Corona in India (100€) and oxygen equipment in Nepal (200€).
In between the pandemic waves, we could organise an event to collect money (500€)
2021 started in the middle of the second COVID-19 wave, just before the worst would hit India and Nepal. We funded the nursing service in Damar with 500€, and asked for a sign to be placed on the Chhermading clinic in name of Josef Steyaert and Cecile Mulier, but this is still outstanding.
In India, we donated 500€ to a hospital in Landour, the region where we have worked for years in collaboration with Woodstock Boarding School, towards oxygen equipment, and 250€ to a charity in Varanasi, where COVID-19 is devastating the population.
Fundraising got a boost with our new PayPal account, and during the annual clothing event we received donations of 2500€, which are planned for a new bridge in the Damar area, shortening the way to school for many kids. A Partnership with Mooonlab, a Dutch clothing brand, raised 3000€ for the girls in Rajasthan.
Stay tuned for more news after summer.