photo: Misha Spanner

ORANJESTAD – “The funding for projects via ‘Statia Doet’ and the additional help from volunteers annually is a big help for us, because we can finally get the needed manpower of volunteers to help out”, says Misha Spanner of the Simon Donker Club.

Still, the budget of $650 per project is not always enough. Materials on the small island are very expensive. Buying materials overseas means extra costs for freight and taxes.

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Statia DOET representative Maxine Spanner explains: “The budget for is very limited. It’s a start, but sometimes there are projects on the list that exceed the maximum cost. We don’t get an exception for our promotional material. Right now, the weather is terrible. Boats can’t come in, forcing us to charter a plane for our supplies, resulting an extra cost”, says Spanner.

Maxine Spanner talks the projects of Statia Doet

Statia DOET was held on March 9 and 10 with 200 volunteers. It is a volunteer campaign that was originally started by the Dutch as a ‘make a difference day’ and now is called NL DOET. There are DOET campaigns on all Dutch islands in the Caribbean, excluding Saba.

Spanner: “We want to teach our museum youth group students the importance of assisting, helping and giving back to our museum and our community. Overall, ‘Statia Doet’ is a wonderful project that brings our community together, by helping each other, as this was always part of the true Statian Culture.”

Statia DOET representative Nadine de Graf talks about Statia Doet

St. Eustatius Monuments Director Walter Hellebrand says: “We started out with five volunteers including myself, ending with a total of eleven.”

Hellebrand adds: “I think the Statia Doet team know from previous years that we take it seriously and execute it properly. What would be helpful is if Statia Doet worked as the mediator between a pool of volunteers on one side and the NGO’s and foundations who like to have projects done on the other side, rather than the organizations having to find the volunteers themselves”

Easy applications
Spanner explains: “It has to be a realistic project that can be done within one or two days. We also have a toolkit that provides ideas such as painting or building a bookshelf. It must be something that benefits a larger group in the community.”

“Our museum submitted two different projects. The Museum project had a total of twenty volunteers along with three museum staff members. It was not difficult getting our Statia Doet Project approved”, Spanner says.