December 14, 2017

A focus on community development

Founded in 2014 by Nirmala Ramprasad, Green Dupatta is a Canada-based registered charitable organisation devoted to advancing sustainable development and agriculture. The core of sustainable development is found in an organisation’s ability to sustain itself and eventually become self-sufficient.

Leonora Community Centre under renovation thanks to Green Dupatta

Hence, Green Dupatta provides communities with the base necessities to create programmes that are not solely reliant on funds from abroad.
In 2013, Nirmala travelled to Guyana for the first time, in her visits to family and friends, and came upon an abandoned building, which she was told her grandfather, Harry (Judge) Ramprasad helped build. Nirmala could not bear to see the building go to waste. When she returned to Canada, Nirmala told her friends about the building she had seen, and what great potential it held. They decided to take on the restoration of this building as their first project, and hence, Green Dupatta was born.
Green Dupatta’s core committee consists of four girls with a passion for change. Nirmala Ramprasad is the acting president and holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Arts in Anthropology. Keisha Singh is the organisation’s secretary and media director. Keisha is currently working as a Behavioural Therapist and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto in 2015. As well, the role of creative director and volunteer coordinator is done by Rhea Bhim. Rhea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Society and is currently working to help rehabilitate patients with severe brain injuries. Jasmine Sukhu is the team’s most avid traveller. When she is not off on an adventure, she works feverishly as the organisation’s treasurer and finance manager. Jasmine recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting. Together these four women use their education and talents to further develop Green Dupatta’s core values and goals.

Member of Green Dupatta helps with the renovations of the centre

The charity’s current project is the restoration of the abandoned community centre in Leonora, Guyana. The centre had numerous safety issues and was no longer in use, but after two years of fundraising, Green Dupatta was able to begin renovations in August of 2015. It has successfully replaced the building’s roof, fence, bathrooms, first-floor interior and created a community garden. The building is currently being used as an after-school daycare with classes for children.
“Funds are raised thanks to our generous sponsors and donors as well as a wide variety of activities throughout the year. Our team attends fairs throughout the summer, such as the Unionville Street Festival, the Durham Caribbean Festival and the LiveGreen Festival hosted at Yonge and Dundas Square, Canada. At these fairs, committee members and volunteers offer henna and face painting to attendees. Also every year, Green Dupatta hosts a Charity Banquet, a gala filled with food, performers, and dancing! This is the organisation’s biggest fundraiser of the year,” Nirmala said in an interview with Sunday Times Magazine.
With the completion of Green Dupatta’s first project just around the corner, works for a new project are underway. Their commitment to sustainable development, youth leadership and education has led them to their next project – the development and restoration of an elementary school. With the help and encouragement of community members, sponsors and volunteers after the completion of its first project, the organisation will begin the restoration of an abandoned school. This will not only provide young minds with space to learn and explore, but will house a basketball court and running track that will be opened to the public.
“There are so many ways for one to get involved in or help our organisation. Funds can be donated online at www.greendupatta.com, or directly to any one of our committee members. However, monetary donations are not the only ones that help. Volunteering time or services is always a great help. If you or anyone you know is interesting in donating funds, time or services please feel free to contact us at greendupatta@gmail.com,” Nirmala encouraged. (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)