~ Education and culture deemed important ~
THE HAGUE–The Consultative Body for Dutch Caribbean persons in the Netherlands Foundation Ocan made donations to three separate entities in St. Maarten this week: Sister Regina Primary School, Milton Peters College (MPC) and the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Centre.
Ocan started a collection drive for St. Maarten shortly after the passage of Hurricane Irma. People were asked to donate, through a flyer distributed via the social media to the Dutch Caribbean community in the Netherlands.
According to Ocan Treasurer Emmielin Rombley, who hails from St. Maarten, this was the first time Ocan initiated a collection drive for victims of a natural disaster. “This was a terribly strong hurricane that caused a lot of damage, especially in St. Maarten, and we decided we had to do something. We wanted to show that Ocan is also there for the people in St. Maarten,” Rombley told The Daily Herald on Friday.
Rombley symbolically handed over 1,010 euros to Eliane Dormoy, the sister of Philipsburg Community and Cultural Centre Director Urmain “Youmay” Dormoy, at the Foundation Ocan offices in The Hague on Thursday. Through his sister, Dormoy thanked Ocan, its Chairman John Leerdam and Treasurer Rombley. “Thank you for thinking of us. You are the first to do so.”
Dormoy said the money was very much appreciated, as there was a lot to be done at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Centre. The building and its interior suffered quite some damage: the air-conditioning system is down, the roof leaks, doors were blown in, the carpet and the fencing outside need to be replaced and the building repainted.
By donating to the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Centre, even though it is just a drop in the bucket, Ocan wanted to reconfirm its commitment to culture and arts on the island. Ocan Chairman Leerdam said, “We want to give off a signal that we are committed and that we want to connect. We hope that this will inspire others to contribute to culture, which is most needed during the reconstruction phase.”
According to Leerdam, creativity, arts and culture are especially important in these hard times. “Culture brings people together, it gives an impulse to the future. The focus now is mostly on infrastructure, while the psycho-social aspects and the positive, connecting influence of culture are forgotten. Through the expression of culture people can share their stores and that helps them to process their hardships emotionally,” he said.
The other two beneficiaries, MPC and Sister Regina Primary School, have also received 1,010 euros each. The hurricane caused considerable damage to both schools and Ocan wanted to contribute to education and the future of the St. Maarten youth.
“The youth are our future. It is important to invest in the youth and in education,” Leerdam told this newspaper.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72173-ocan-donates-to-st-maarten