NGO to launch 2013 Ramazan Collection for Children’s Shelters from June 16

Local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) is set to launch its latest annual Ramazan Collection for Children’s Shelters later this month, requesting donations of food, sports equipment, toiletries and clothing from the public.

Starting from June 16, the organisation is requesting gift donations for 90 children aged between 0 and 18 years of age, who presently live in the shelters of Kudakudhinge Hiya, Amaan Hiya (Villimale’) and the Education and Training Centre for Children (Maafushi).

ARC has said it will be accepting donations at its Male’ office on Alikilegefaanu Magu from Sunday up to July 4, 2013 . Donations will be accepted during this period from 3:00pm to 6:00pm Sunday to Thursdays, and 2:00pm to 6:00pm on Saturdays.

The NGO has said that it would gratefully accept food and toiletries as well as new or gently used arts supplies and stationery, toys and sports equipment, as well as clothing and prayer items.

“Thanks to the community’s generosity, ARC’s previous collections were a great success and the children look forward to it every year,” the NGO said in a statement. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted, and your gifts given in the spirit of Ramazan will bring much joy to the children.”

Further information on the Ramazan collection is available online through ARC’s website, or by calling the NGO on 784 0360 during collection hours.

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Health Trust Fund fundraising events raise over MVR 5.5 million (US$357,142)

Following a week of fundraising events the Health Ministry has raised over 5.5 million MVR (US$357,142) for the Health Trust Fund established in late April, falling short of the MVR 270 million (US$ 17,532,450) needed for health sector services.

The Health Trust Fund was established 20 November 2012 under Ministry of Finance and Treasury regulations and inaugurated on April 29, 2013.

The only way the Health Trust Fund can be maintained is through donations of sufficient assets and in this regard government and private sector contributions are very important, Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Jamsheed recently told local media.

He explained that the health sector requires an additional MVR 270 million (US$ 17,532,450), which requires public contributions and cooperation.

Previously health sector services were “covered by the people”, however following the start of the Aasandha universal health insurance scheme on 1 January 2012 the government of Maldives needed a “huge amount of finance” to cover expenses, said Jamsheed.

Therefore, the Health Ministry organised a series of fundraising events to “commence activities to raise funds, not to gather all the funds need to cover all health sector services,” he added.

“We want health services to be sustainable by putting an end to service disruptions due to machinery breakdowns as well as provide a systematic way for people to give in-kind donations,” Health Ministry Director and fundraising media team member Thasleema Usman told Minivan News yesterday (June 8).

“There has always been a budget shortfall at the Health Ministry, there has never been enough money,” Usman said.

“We wanted to try and do something for the Maldivian people, additionally there are also people who want to contribute [to the fund] for the benefit of the public,” she added.

Usman explained that the various fundraising events were organised as a start for the trust fund and to raise awareness among the public.

“We didn’t want this to be a ‘once off’ thing,” she said.

“Although the total amount of funds raised are still being tallied, as of this afternoon (June 9), the total reported was MVR 5.5 million (US$357,142), with over MVR 2 million (USD$129,870) in cash donations and more than MVR 3 million (US$194,805) from in kind contributions,” Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) Senior Scientific Officer and fundraising media team member Mariyam Shabeena told Minivan News today (June 9).

Budgetary needs

The health sector budgeted MVR 2.2 billion (US$142,857,000) for 2013, however around MVR 1.1 billion  US$71,428,500) or 50 percent of the total budget is allocated for the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), according to Usman.

She said that over MVR 5 million is needed for social safety net subsidy programs, such as single parent’s allowance, foster parent’s allowance, disability registration and benefit and electricity subsidies, which fall under NSPA.

NSPA is also responsible for managing the national social health insurance scheme, a public-private partnership with Allied Insurance.

“Aasandha requires 1.13 billion MVR (US$73,376,550) to provide actual health care,” Usman said.

“An additional MVR 500 million (US$32,467,500) is required for Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) operations and the Health Ministry budget also includes institutions, such as the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA), National Drug Agency (NDA), etc,” she continued.

Usman explained that the health trust fund will be transparent, with legal mechanisms to manage the money.

“The Health Ministry can only have a sustainable trust fund if funds are raised legally, by abiding with Finance Ministry regulations,” she said.

“The fund has a very well written policy that explains how the money will be used and what has been used,” Usman continued.

“A nine member committee chaired by the Health Minister will oversee the fund, which has a grading system to determine where funds are need most.”

Members of the public making contributions can earmark their donations for a particular island or association, but the trust fund committee needs to know what is being earmarked so contributions are not wasted, Usman added.

Events

“We have received a lot of support from the media, they have been a very, very big help,” said Usman.

A one hour telethon pre-show was broadcast nationwide from June 1 – 7 on four TV stations – MBC, VTV, DhiTV, Raajje TV – and three radio stations – MBC, VTV, DhiFM to raise awareness about the fundraising events.

“The broadcast reports showed where we are, the assistance required, and the grand realities of how the Health Ministry spends their budget,” Usman explained.

The actual telethon was held Saturday ( June 8 ) from 6:00am to midnight. It was kicked off with a sponsored walk along one of Male’s main thoroughfares.

Additionally, two charity football matches were held in Male’s National Stadium Friday (June 7), with Maldivian media presenters facing off against film stars.

The film star women’s team was victorious, winning 4 – 0 , while the men’s media team won 3-0 after dominating overtime penalty kicks.

Proceeds from ticket sales and t-shirt purchases also contributed to the Health Ministry fund.

Furthermore, a Children’s Evening fundraising event was also held at Male’s Children’s Park (Kudakudinge Bageecha).

Donation boxes were also placed at ferry terminals in Male’, as well as IGMH, regional and atoll hospitals.

“Ultimately these events were very successful because we were able to raise so much money,” said Usman.

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Superboys and supergirls at heart of charity focus ahead of Ramazan

It is a fairly uncommon site in Male’, if not anywhere else in the world.  A young Superman is sliding down the banisters of the capital’s national stadium, closely followed by a no-less fearless Snow White, several fairies and a princess, all while several marching bands provide a regimented soundtrack to the high-energy goings-on.

Rather than a colourful breakdown of order in Male’ amidst present political tensions, the event held in the capital yesterday represents attempts by a growing number of NGOs to provide fundraising and awareness programmes aimed at children in the run-up to the holy month of Ramazan that begins in August.

Local NGO Tiny Hearts of Maldives and the Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) organisation have both this weekend launched initiatives designed to capitalise on the charitable spirit said to be at the heart of Ramazan.

Tiny Hearts race

Tiny Hearts, which was set up three years ago to help local youngsters suffering with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), yesterday organised a fancy dress run attended by 400 pre-school children.  The event was supported by a number of organisations like the Diabetic Society of Maldives, Maldivian Red Crescent, the Scout Association of Maldives and the Maldives Girl Guide Association.

Five pre-schools participated in the race, including the Galolhu Madhrasa, Hulhumale Preschool, Maafannu Madharsa, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Preschool and Zaailing Preschool.

Music during the event was also provided by the brass bands of Iskandhar School, Jamaaludheen School and Imaadhudheen School.

According to the local charity, the ‘Race for Tiny Hearts 2012’ project was focused mainly on promoting physical activity in young Maldivians, whilst trying to encourage parents to do more at the family level to promote heart health.

Having previously been involved with high-profile attempts in the country to raise funds for its work, including an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make the record books last year, CHD was not the sole focus of yesterday’s event for Tiny Hearts.

The charity nonetheless said that it had been able to raise awareness of both its own and other charitable organisations’ commitments and aims during the two hour event.

“We aimed and managed to engage various other institutions to work actively alongside charitable organisations to achieve goals that benefit society,” Tiny Hearts stated.

While yesterday’s series of races served as a fun family event for participants, Tiny Hearts has claimed that during the last three years, it has not only provided advice and awareness campaigns regarding CHD, but to also provide logistical and financial support in ensuring there is hope for child sufferers of heart defects.

The NGO estimates that 250 CHD patients have been able to fly abroad for specialist surgeries and healthcare, while the group has also worked to bring paediatric cardiologists to the Maldives for more direct assistance.

ARC Ramazan collection scheme

Yesterday also saw the ARC charity launch its 2012 Ramazan collection campaign designed to collect goods and other essentials for children of all ages that are raised in shelters.

A spokesperson for the charity today told Minivan News that the scheme, which had also been run back in 2011, was designed to aid the work of three key children’s shelters in the Maldives.   These shelters include; Kudakudhinge Hiya on Villingili, the Education and Training Centre for Children (ETCC) on Maafushi and Feydhoo Finolhu’s Correctional Training Centre for Children.

“Ramazan in the Maldives is a time where the majority of people went to help others and are in a giving mood. We have aimed this for now, as families will be buying lots of new things and we ask them to think of less fortunate children,” an ARC spokesperson said.

“We ran this project last year as well and found a lot of interest in people wanting to help, though not knowing how to. We looked at the needs of these shelters and have compiled a list. Collections opened yesterday (July 6) and will continue until next Saturday (July 14).”

The collections are taking place at the ARC office located on the second floor of M. Nooraaneeaage on Orchid Magu in Male’. Collection hours are between 2:00pm to 6:00pm from Saturday until Thursday. On friday, collection will occur between 4:00pm and 6:00pm local time.

According to the charity, the collection will take a large range of goods from clothing and apparel, to toiletries, toys, foods, books and stationery.

A full list of the goods needed can be read here.

Looking to its aim for the year ahead beyond Ramazan, a spokersperson for ARC said the organisation did not have a clear strategy regarding specific fund-raising events.

“We tend to work on a project-by-project basis, which has mainly seen us helping the shelters such as through capacity building initiatives and providing Parental Effectiveness Training (PET) projects for care-workers. It is important to support these care-workers as they are effectively parents to children as these shelters,” the spokesperson said.

ARC is presently involved in establishing a 
PET
 scheme amongst staff at the ETCC
 site in
 Maafushi.

The programme, which is being overseen by certified instructors has been devised by the charity in an attempt to give caregivers the means to better understand and deal with issues facing the children they look after. A similar PET programme was provided at Kudakudhinge
 Hiya in July 2011, the charity added.

Alongside focusing on national awareness projects relating to areas such as health and nutrition and child abuse, ARC claimed it also had a secondary function of providing sports programmes in fields such as badminton and chess to children living in the environment of a shelter.  The charity has also been involved in the provision of additional assistance and tutoring to assist underprivileged children with their school work and studies.

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Bodu Beru and balladeering: Kurumba holds charity music festival for orphanage

Kurumba Maldives held a charity music festival on Friday, featuring 11 music acts ranging from solo Australian balladeers to local rock bands and traditional Bodu Beru drumming.

The Kurumba Maldives Music Festival, launched to coincide with the resort’s 40 year anniversary celebrations, was devised to raise US$5000 to purchase furniture, washing machines and other equipment for the state orphanage “Kudakudhinge Hiyaa”, based on the nearby island of Villigili.

Following three weeks of planning, event organisers said that yesterday’s event exceeded their fund-raising expectations, despite being the first such festival to be held at the resort.

The event’s organisers said that they had been particularly encouraged by the assistance received from sponsors and other local business. They also welcomed the Ministry of Finance in getting a temporary exemption from the country’s General Service Tax (GST) on food, drink and tickets sold to visitors attending the event.

“We were granted exemptions from paying GST for fund-raising, we were very lucky that the Ministry of Finance helped with this,” a resort spokesperson said, adding that the event had marked the first time it had been involved with fund-raising with local people.

“This was the first fund-raising of its kind to be held at a resort. We invited a lots of friends and suppliers of the resorts, so we didn’t know how much we would be receiving or how many bands would be arriving to perform. However, it was a really good day. We also had the children from the orphanage coming over to take part in activities like water sports as well.”

Orphanage focus

With about 53 children currently residing at the Villingili orphanage – eight of whom are said to be under one year of age – the site remains dependent on donations to feed, cloth and look after the children, according to the spokesperson for Kurumba’s fund raising team.

“You can see that they are well looked after, but the orphanage itself clearly lacks basic facilities. For instance, there are not enough high chairs for toddlers. Many of the property’s beds are also broken and there was just one washing machine for all the children,” said the spokesperson. “It’s therefore very hard for the orphanage to survive like this. Right now they are working on maintaining hygiene standards and providing food to the children. We hope to help where we can.”

All money raised through the festival will be used to purchase furniture and other items like washing machines through the resort’s own suppliers, to get the equipment as soon as possible.

“We are not going to give cash, instead we will directly be supplying items and goods as needed. This will allow us to get these things at our supplier rates and ensure the orphanage gets the benefit directly,” the resort spokesperson said.

“Some of the resorts here work in collaboration with more worldwide charities through their corporate social responsibility obligations,” said the spokesperson “With our 40th anniversary this year, and the resort being Maldivian-owned, we wanted to raise money for local causes and people.”

Performers

Split over two different sites on the resort, local groups and artists including Mcrew, DJ Paide, and Rock Paper Scissors were joined by international performers such as Australian singer/songwriter Ewan Procter. The line up was an eclectic mix of original compositions, cover versions and dance sets. A liberal sprinkling of stadium anthems were also provided – albeit in the more sedate backdrop of an wooden-decked Indian ocean resort property.

Despite praising the event’s outcome, Kurumba’s fund-raising team said the resort had to overcome some logistical issues in holding the small scale festival at the resort.

“We needed to be careful throughout the day to ensure we did not disturb guests. This is why we held the event at two different areas. In the evening we were required to move the performances from the beach area to our bar area so guests were not forced to participate if they did not want to. We are still a five-star resort after all.”

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Tiny Hearts raises US$46,437 for CHD efforts, announces audit plans

A month-long fundraising campaign by local NGO Tiny Hearts has raised Rf594,394 (US$46,437) to aid its efforts in working with children suffering from Congenital Heart Defects (CHD).

At a press conference earlier today, the charity said that the money raised from ‘11708’ campaign – which culminated in last weekend’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to try and gather 11,708 people in the shape of a giant heart – would be divided and allocated to recipients affected by CHD on the basis of the NGO’s advisory committee.

Along with raising the funding, the NGO has also pledged to undertake an audit over the next few months with a full report to be unveiled at Tiny Heart’s next annual general assembly.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the NGO said the charity was not presently planning to renew its attempts to break into the record books, but rather focusing on fundraising measures.

“Right now, we are trying to minimise costs in looking for events for funding,” the spokesperson said. “At present one surgery [for a local child] costs US$5,000, this does not include additional charges for transportation abroad. People affected by CHD are increasing all the time in a country. We have more than 200 children registered with the charity and there are likely to be an even larger number unregistered.”

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Tiny Hearts praises record attempt as “huge success” for charity in the Maldives

Maldivian NGO Tiny Hearts might have fallen short in its attempts to secure a place in the Guinness book of World Records, despite thousands of people turning up at Male’ National Stadium yesterday, yet the NGO said the event was nonetheless a great success for charitable aims in the country.

The NGO, which was formed back in 2009 to help local children suffering with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), attempted to gather thousands of people into a heart shape to raise awareness about the number of Maldivians affected by the condition. The charity estimates that one person in every 100 born around the world suffers from a CHD.

According to organisers of late nights record attempt, the target number for participants needed to enter the record books was 11,708 – a figure corresponding to the date of the attempt July 8 2011 – with 4,665 turning up to be involved.

Although not sufficient to make the record books after several attempts yesterday evening, a spokesperson for tiny hearts said that as a means to create awareness and organise local people to a cause, the event was still a success for the group.

“Ultimately, we aimed to get as many people together as possible to raise awareness [about CHD] across the country. We therefore achieved our objective,” said the spokesperson. “We managed to organise thousands of people together for a single cause, with no salaried staff: this is a huge success.”

Future goals

Yesterday’s event was designed as a means to celebrate two years of Tiny Hearts being registered as a charity in the country. Yet in looking ahead to its future goals, the NGO’s spokesperson said that it was not presently planning to renew its attempts to break into the record books – focusing instead on fundraising measures.

“Right now, we are trying to minimise costs in looking for events for funding,” the spokesperson said. “At present one surgery [for a local child] costs US$5,000, this does not include additional charges for transportation abroad. People affected by CHD are increasing all the time in a country. We have more than 200 children registered with the charity and there are likely to be an even larger number unregistered.”

Last year, a charity football match organised by the charity involving public figures and celebrities raised Rf265,000 (US$20,500) for patients.

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