Curaçao Cares was conceived in 2011 when Deva-Dee Siliee (27) and Lysayé de Windt (30), both avid volunteers living in New York City, found themselves looking into new volunteer projects and realizing that they were much more accessible in other countries than in Curaçao. Curaçao’s volunteer opportunities seemed limited to specific neighborhoods, churches and foundations and specific information on each initiative was very difficult to come by since most of them don’t maintain an up-to-date website. Moreover, Deva-Dee and Lysa found that a handful of well-marketed foundations received the bulk of Curaçao’s attention, while lesser-known initiatives were left under-resourced.
Not ones to shy away from challenges, Deva-Dee and Lysa decided to join forces with the HandsOn Network and set out to replicate New York Cares and Nederland Cares in Curaçao in October 2012. Curaçao Cares aims to connect foundations and social projects with volunteers by way of a centrally accessible online hub that displays various projects, making it much easier for YDKs to donate their flexible time and talent to meaningful local causes. After burning the midnight oil for several months in a row — learning about non-profit management, web development, the ins and outs of Adobe’s Suite — as well as rallying the generous support of a few founding private sector partners (GiroBank, BearingPoint Caribbean and Ernst & Young) — Deva-Dee and Lysa were able to launch Curaçao Cares’ beta service on June 26th 2013.
“Our motto is ‘commit as you can’… Just a few hours a month can make a big difference (…) Say you could be making $200 in the two hours you spend volunteering… by volunteering you actually *invest* $200 in your island’s human capital development… and that’s a gift that will keep on giving.” says Deva-Dee, eyes glistening.
Deva-Dee and Lysa plan on getting Curaçao’s corporate suits out on the streets, rolling up their sleeves, getting their hands dirty. They want to bring our wise, proverb-rich generation in touch with our quick-witted, iPhone/Blackberry generation.
“We want to facilitate more understanding among our people… We want people to realize that they have a lot to give – and gain – from giving their time… we want to plant seeds for more compassionate future leaders and active citizens,” says Lysa.