SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – An estimated 1500-1800 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to complete around 90 community projects for the sixth anniversary of SXM DOET, this past Friday and Saturday. With recent developments involving the COVID19 pandemic, there were some precautionary postponements of projects that required the interaction of large numbers of volunteers with vulnerable groups like our elderly. That, coupled with Saturday’s downpour, led to some slight hiccups but overall, all other projects were successfully completed with lots of fun and many great accomplishments achieved.
The projects, as usual, touched on a great wide variety of community challenges and social groups. Volunteers helped, amongst many other projects, fix roofing for play areas, build school benches, renovate playgrounds, install kitchens and cupboards, rejuvenate sports courts and fields, spruce up churches, beautify walls with murals, assist with food drives, create recycle bins along with environmental and cultural historical signs, organize HIV-testing events, fix school and community center bathrooms, build community and school gardens, and clear hiking trails.
In an effort to keep participants safe and to mitigate the spread of unwanted germs, organizations and volunteers were all reminded by the Project Management team to exercise the necessary sanitation and hygiene measures like more frequent breaks for handwashing and to not attend the event if showing any signs of feeling unwell. The Project Management team also evaluated the scope of all projects prior to the Friday start by ensuring that they were taking place in spacious, well ventilated or outdoor areas, where persons were not in especially close contact with one another, and/or that they involved a small number of resident volunteers.
Additionally, there were many social projects focused on groups like our elderly and youth, which enjoyed activities such as baking cupcakes, spa days, excursions to the bird park, island tours, sip and paints, crafting activities, bbq’s, museum visits, and fun at the beach and pool as well sport courts.
“We are so very thankful to all the volunteers and other supporters this year. The participating community organizations, workday in and day out to improve the lives of many on our island, and through DOET we try to facilitate that little bit of extra help they may need. The participating organisations along with their volunteers really are the drivers of our community and we are happy that through SXM DOET we can give them a small boost to continue doing their amazing work, “stated Melanie Choisy, Fleur Hermanides and Laura Bijnsdorp of the SXM DOET Project Management Team.
In the past year, including for this event, over a dozen dedicated volunteer ‘project’ coaches have signed on with the SXM DOET team, to ensure that projects have extra guidance in executing their projects. “With their help we have seen a steady increase in the quality of projects every year. We are very thankful for their efforts, dedication, expertise and time,” explains Choisy.
Most of the projects received a small stipend through the Oranje Fonds, in the Netherlands, to obtain the materials for the plans put in place, as well as help from various generous businesses on the island. Some dedicated companies partnered with the SXM DOET team to provide discounts and donations to all participants, and others donated their time and assistance by adopting a project for the weekend, some assisting financially and in kind as well.
The SXM DOET team would like to thank Firgos, Domino’s Pizza, Cake House, T-Shirt Maxx, CC1 with Dasani and Coca-Cola, Heavenly Water, Greenfingers, Kooyman, Sherwin Williams, Dijtham, the Johnny Caker, R&R Tackling Gas Station, Lagoonies, Altus Branding, Viva Signs, Philipsburg Broadcasting Company, PJD3, ILTT, Nectar, The Daily Herald, Caribbean Legacy, A&A Supply, Coffee Lounge, Buccaneers, Waste 2 Work, Freegan Food Foundation, Alexandra Schaede, and Fit Foods, amongst many others whom assisted at their own accord – partnerships that have really helped make a difference.
On Saturday evening, following the address of the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, the Team also cancelled their yearly Thank You event to avoid large gatherings of persons as recommended by worldwide health organizations.
Be The Change Foundation (BTC), the executor and organiser of SXM DOET, would hereby also like to thank the Oranje Fonds for having brought the initiative to Sint Maarten, six years ago, and for funding the effort locally and throughout the rest of the Dutch Kingdom. BTC hopes that through this initiative many more persons and businesses become interested in volunteering and dedicating themselves to the many good causes we have locally, strengthening this important pillar of our society.
For more information on SXM DOET or to learn how to contribute, in any way, contact the SXM DOET Project Management Team Melanie Choisy, Fleur Hermanides or Laura Bijnsdorp at
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or visit www.sxmdoet.com/www.facebook.com/SXMDOET.
Project coaches Makhicia Brooks and Caroline van Oost pose with the Philipsburg Promo Board volunteers as worked hard to beautify numerous alleys in our country’s capital.
Freshly painted playground games now complete at Learning a Unlimited Prep School.
Girl power at the Seventh Day Adventist Church whilst erecting a new greenhouse structure.