BY: LEANNE BENN
The Green Dupatta Organization held their fourth annual gala and charity banquet on Nov 11th at the Shingar Banquet Hall in Brampton. With over 300 guests in attendance, this gala may be the most successful one yet according to CEO, Nirmala Ramprasad. The Green Dupatta is a non-profit organization focused on community building and development on an international scale. This all started just over four years ago when Ramprasad visited her father’s native land, Guyana.
There was a personal connection with the land almost immediately as Ramprasad noticed an old abandoned building in the village of Leonora in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara. As fate would have it, Ramprasad was told by her parents that her grandfather once helped to build the now-defunct building. When Ramprasad returned to Canada, she was naturally drawn by her charitable character to do something about the space. Along with three other high-school friends, all with Caribbean heritage, they decided to take on the project of rebuilding this community space.
It was not an easy task, but every trip that Ramprasad made to Guyana, helped her to get a clear vision of what the community wanted. By engaging with the community, the restoration of the building was possible and not only that, space became vital. By looking at the needs of the community, Ramprasad was able to source local materials and village contractors to help with the process in an effort to keep the money.
Donations and community input here in Canada also helped this effort tremendously and now after four years, the community center is in its final stages of being complete. The downstairs of the building is already being used as a community daycare, for women who need assistance once they are out seeking jobs.
“What our organization does, is we provide and fund the structure in a community. We provide help and guidance in bringing about programming but ultimately we want the community members to think about what they need,” Ramprasad said.
Ramprasad is amazed by the community effort, not just in Guyana but the entire West-Indian community in Toronto as well, where residents pride themselves as being whole, This effort by the Green Dupatta, is only the first of many international ventures in community development. Ramprasad’s commitment to the Leonora Community Center has helped her to interact with the local community and her work doesn’t go unnoticed. Their next project in Guyana will be a rec-center in a nearby village that noticed the outstanding change in the Leonora community and the village offered up an old abandoned school to be repaired and transformed.
Ramprasad is very hands-on with the community work and her volunteering efforts. She also gets a lot of help from her parents and her sister. The core of the Green Dupata Organization includes Ramprasad as CEO, Rhea Bhim, content and production manager, Keisha Singh, secretary and media director and Jasmine Suckhu, treasurer and finance manager. Outside of the core team, there are a growing number of volunteers every day.
The gala is the biggest fundraising event the organization hosts and they also go to community fairs in the summer in order to raise funds. Ramprasad knows that none of this would be possible without the community effort and continues to hope for expansion and development in other local areas and eventually other communities in the West-Indies.
To donate to this cause and to find out more about this organization, visit GreenDupatta.com