Every year the IWCU contribute both financially and practically to several charities or good causes.
Our chosen charities vary from year to year, depending on requests from members. In 2014 and 2015 we donated to:
* Magic Care
This is a group of four people donating their time and expertise to perform magic shows to children as a form of healing, teaching and entertainment. These people regularly entertain in the hospitals in Utrecht. With our donation they were able to buy more props and red noses to entertain children.
* Jarige Job
This is a charitable foundation set up to enable children to have a great birthday. In Holland there is a tradition that you offer a “tractatie” in the school. This involves creating snacks for other children in your class. If the family is currently reliant on the Food Bank, then this would be an impossibility. As a consequence many children opt to take a day off school rather than celebrate their birthday. We donated 4 gift sets to children. These include a present for the child, birthday balloons and decoration, a tractatie set and a full birthday cake and candles set.
We donated 800 USD to Kiva.org in December 2014 and sponsored many women’s enterprising initiatives around the world. Kiva is a microfinancing organsiation that supports the ability to provide start-up or growth loans to many people who would otherwise be unable to start or grow their business.
Keeping in mind the target of our group, we selected mostly women interested in raising some funds for agriculture, art, clothing, food, health education and manufacturing related projects.
We quickly starting to get back some repayments from 3 of the beneficiaries, which means that some of the money donated is already serving the purpose. These first projects were:
AHADI GROUP: we donated $25 to Nyassa a 49 year old woman part of this group and mother of 9 children, living in the Republic of Congo. She was seeking a loan to buy fifty x two 50kg sacks of flour to use of a business she started some time ago with the support of her husband. Her dream is to expand her business, pay her children’s school fees and eventually buy a house. According to her plan she will refund the loan little by little on a monthly basis and for the moment she has kept her word.
MANUELELEI: she is a 32 year old mother of 4 children who owns and operates a small business in her community in Samoa to earn a living. We donated $25 to Mauelelei to help her buy vegetable seeds, a shovel, a rake, chemicals, a wheelbarrow, a water tank, gloves and safety booths to assist the business. She has been running this business for the last 2 years and is planning to pay back her debt on a monthly basis. Also in this case we have already received the repayment for the month of January.
DJEKADI GROUP: we donated $25 to this group of approximately 40 year-old women with four children who live in traditional extended families in Mali. These women know each other through kinship ties and are traders of kitchen utensils, condiments, cereals and other products. This is their fourteenth loan and they have reimbursed all the previous ones completely. Thanks to the money they make through their business they are able to buy food to support their families and keep the business running.
* Shoebox Collection for the Polish Orphanages – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014...
It is becoming our Christmas tradition to donate shoeboxes full of goodies for children in a Polish orphanage. For the past few years we volunteer to be allocated a child each. Then we fill a decorated box with gifts that are suitable for the child. In the last few years we have been buying presents for the older children who would soon need to leave the orphanage. The collection and delivery of the boxes is organized through a friend of our club, Dorota. She also sends us update photos of the children opening the presents. We normally aim to have all boxes assigned in November and to have them ready for Dorota by the 5th of December.
* Moviera – Women and Children’s Shelter
We have also arranged for Christmas Present donations to the local women’s shelters. There are two shelters in Utrecht each housing around 20 women and their children and we alternate supporting one or the other shelter. In a similar format some members of our club volunteer to buy presents for a lady or her children in the club. Then these are hand delivered to the shelter in time for a Christmas celebration. As anonymity is essential for the women in the shelter, we never receive photos, but we do receive an email of thanks. We have been doing these collections since 2013.
Our fundraising efforts are currently focused on the following:
* Online Auction
In November 2014 we tried our first Online Silent Auction. We collected offering of help and handmade products from our members. We had everything from jewelry, to gardening, to birthday cakes, customized children’s clothes and handbags. We were able to raise a considerable amount, which helped us set up our first Kiva account and started donations.
Part of the earnings from the silent auction went to Marajowi, a Malawian foundation run by one of our members to pay for part of the school fee of Joyce, one of the 4 children. We have just received a letter from her: she thanks IWCU for contributing to her education and tells how happy and lucky she feels to be able to go to a proper school.
* The IWCU Cookbook
In the past we have compiled a cookbook based on recipes from members. With members from many different countries, this cookbook has a very international flavour! All profits from the sale of the cookbook went to the charity account. We have no more copies left.
* Bring and Buy Sale
We have also held Charity Bring and Buy and joint Cake Sales at the Wevehuis in Utrecht.
In the past we have also organized charity coffee mornings, walks and runs. Suggestions for both fundraising activities and charities are welcome from members.