The donation that the Cayman Islands Red Cross receives as a result of Island Heritage’s CharityDrive campaign will go toward enhancing the HIV/AIDS Awareness programme and the Disaster Management Programme.
Of the four programmes the Red Cross runs, only two – the Thrift Shop and first aid training – generate income (through sales and training fees) for the organisation, said Carolina Ferreira, deputy director of the local chapter. This revenue, in turn, funds the overall activities of the organisation.
“The HIV and Disaster Management programmes generate no funds whatsoever,” Ms Ferreira said. “We therefore really rely on the other two to support the entire organisation.”
“With the $10,000, or potentially $15,000 from the CharityDrive, one of the biggest things we would put it towards would be the current HIV campaign we have going on, which is focusing on the link between child sexual abuse and HIV.”
She said the programme aims to develop tools for parents so they have something tangible to take home with them, which will help them open up a dialogue with children.
The other programme the Red Cross will channel the donation into is Disaster Management.
“From the Disaster Management perspective, we would put funds towards training, not only of our internal volunteers but also out in the communities,” Ms Ferreira said.
“We now have the vulnerability and capacity assessment trainings, which allow people in the community to basically look at their communities in a more holistic manner, gather information and see the strengths and possible vulnerabilities and how they can plan accordingly. It’s real community empowerment.”
Although the Cayman Islands Red Cross is a branch of the British Red Cross, this does not mean that the local chapter receives outside funding.
“We do not receive any funding from the British Red Cross. This is a common misconception, and one we are constantly trying to educate people about,” Ms Ferreira said.
The funding the organisation receives from government has been cut significantly in the past few years and the local chapter now operates on roughly half of what it used to, Ms Ferreira said.
Funding is therefore a big issue and the organisation relies more than ever on its two main fundraisers to bring in revenue: a dinner and dance gala held in June and the annual golf tournament held in September.
“We certainly know how to stretch a dollar,” Ms Ferreira said.
In spite of financial challenges, the Cayman Islands Red Cross is a vibrant branch, she said. The managers in Cayman frequently travel to other jurisdictions to provide training for Red Cross operations overseas.