NGO seeks subvention for projects to help the needy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

WAND president Mona Khan, right, and board member Jan Bocas Ryan, left, present Sharon Rowley, wife of the Prime Minister, with a copy of The Story of WAND during a fundraising luncheon at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Friday. Photo by Roger Jacob

Jan Bocas Ryan, board member of the NGO WAND, is asking the Government to consider giving it an annual subvention, “given our track record of good governance and delivery of projects on time, within budget, and timely reporting.”

Speaking at the Women in Action for the Needy and Destitute (WAND) fundraising luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Friday, Ryan said all the funds collected went directly to its projects, since the organisation had no overheads.

“Our subvention request would be a targeted one, focused on achieving a very specific project as we are aware that Government cannot do everything, and we are happy to partner with others to get the job done.”

Its most recent project is a partnership with The Shelter, an NGO and charity for domestic violence survivors, founded by Diana Mahabir-Wyatt.

WAND president Mona Sheppard said the project, which will begin early in the new year, involved expanding the home, doubling the size of the accommodation, and creating a space that will be known as the WAND Wing.

Speaking to Sunday Newsday, she said when the NGO did a project, it did not give small donations.

“We do not fix a roof or build a room. We do projects, one at a time, and we do them well and leave them well run.

“We were going to do a transition home at The Shelter, but the chairman suggested the expansion. So we decided to partner with them to do the expansion, because they really needed more room for women and children.”

She said WAND had done such projects before and could not do it alone, especially as getting funds was very difficult in these trying times.

“So we are calling on the government and sponsors of any kind, be it bricks, paint, anything. We are open to all these things.”

During the programme she mentioned that during the height of the pandemic, with the help of Tatil, Scotiabank, and other sponsors, WAND helped several schools with face masks, computers, printers, and did a school feeding programme.

The organisation also published a book, The Story of WAND, which was compiled by Ryan and edited by veteran broadcaster Sandra Maharaj. It highlights the organisation’s history, objectives, fundraisers and projects since its inception in 1998, and more.

Ryan said between 1998 and 2020, WAND participated in over 50 projects, and raised over $10.75 million, which did not include “in kind” donations or funds raised during the covid19 period.

She encouraged other NGOs to document their programmes and occasions, and produce pictorial books to keep the memories sharp.

“The Story of WAND explains how we achieved our goals, and lists board members who served the organisation over the past 24 years. Also, projects and fundraisers. This is indeed the legacy of the first-generation WAND ladies, who made serious contributions and commitments to the growth of this organisation. In early years, most board members worked full time, managed their families, and attended social functions with spouses in the evenings.

“We learnt fast how to multi-task and had the ‘heart and love’ to continue working on helping others so that they too could experience the joy of life. In 2015, we recognised the need to expand, and adopted a mentoring process to ensure that when the first-generation ladies retired as board members, the organisation will be placed in secure hands.”

A new board will take over WAND in January 2023.

Ryan also thanked the wife of the Prime Minister, Sharon Rowley, for attending most of WAND’s fundraising luncheons and supporting it over the years.

Rowley commended members who have been “working assiduously” to contribute to needy women in TT, saying that they showed exemplary service of community service.

Also present were numerous women of note including veteran activist and Newsday columnist Mahabir-Wyatt; former deputy principal of UWI, St Augustine Prof Rhoda Reddock; Ministry of Health Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards; and president of the TT Manufacturers’ Association Tricia Coosal.