The Bottom, Saba – Saba DOET, the annual ‘make-a-difference’ event where volunteers help out in the community, will take place on May 28 and 29. Originally, Saba DOET and similar events in the other parts of the Dutch Kingdom were to take place on March 12 and 13.
The Oranje Fonds, the organization in the Netherlands that initiates the annual volunteer event throughout the kingdom, decided mid-January to postpone the initiative due to the measures related to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though Saba is COVID-19 free, the Netherlands and many of the other Dutch Caribbean islands are not. On Saba, the event is co-hosted by the Saba Lions Club, whose members play an active role in the event.
Non-profit organizations on Saba are encouraged to register their project. They can do so by filling out the details on www.sabadoet.com. More information can be acquired by emailing to sabalionsdoet@gmail, or through the Saba DOET Facebook page. Until mid-April organizations can submit a request to receive funding for their project. Per project, a maximum of US $650 is available, of which up to US $500 for materials that are needed for the project itself and US $150 for food/drinks.
This will be the third year that Saba DOET will take place, and it has been growing in size and popularity. In 2020, Saba DOET had 16 projects with about 200 volunteers. With more than 10 percent of the population participating, Saba DOET has, relatively speaking, the largest participation in the kingdom when compared to the total population, said Saba DOET coordinator Johan Schaeffer. The large turn-out is partly due to the participation of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) and its students.
Projects that are traditionally part of Saba DOET, and in the other parts of the kingdom, include the beautification and cleaning of community facilities and areas and giving extra attention to vulnerable groups, including the elderly. Last year, some of the projects on Saba included the cleaning of the cemetery in Windwardside, the planting of fruit trees on the Fort Bay Road, an extra meal for the elderly, the clean-up of St. John’s and the beautification of the Johan Cruyff Court.
Sponsoring by the business community is most welcome. “After all, it is for a good cause. The broader the support, the more successful the projects turn out to be,” said Schaeffer, who expressed much appreciation for the volunteers. “We can be proud that so many of us participate here on Saba. The slogan is very appropriate: Together we achieve more.” Meetings are being planned for next month where organizations will be briefed about Saba DOET and the procedures.