Welcome to DaM
‘Dar as Mãos’ (DaM) means ‘Give me your hand‘
We are a non-profit association based on the island of Santo Antão, Cape Verde.
We have been giving a hand to the people of the village of Tarrafal since 2014.
A great deal has changed for the better in the meantime, especially in the areas of healthcare and education.
You’re welcome to pay us a visit and share in our excitement about what we have achieved together over the last few years.
‘Give me a hand’
The more hands the better!
Educational opportunities for all
In the current school year, 32 pupils from Tarrafal are going to a secondary school (Years 7 to 12). This means attending a school in Porto Novo, Ribeira
das Patas, Ribeira Grande or even on the neighbouring island of São Vicente. Those youngsters who have relatives in one of these places generally live with them; the others are accommodated at boarding school during the school year. For most families, school-related costs already take quite a big chunk out of the household budget; add in the boarding fees, and secondary school becomes virtually unaffordable for many.
Those pupils who have successfully completed secondary school and now wish to study in Mindelo are also reliant on financial assistance. There are currently 14 of them. Tuition fees alone come to Esc 9,000–15,000 per month (€82–136), on top of which are learning materials, travel costs, accommodation and so on.
We want to give each and every pupil the chance to attend secondary school. For them, this is a key step towards realizing their full potential.
To achieve this, we need financial donations. So join with us in our efforts to give these youngsters the educational opportunities they would not otherwise have!
New steps for Tarrafal’s children
Someone new has taken up the cause of of DaM Tarrafal and will be bringing fresh impetus: Tatjana Goy from Switzerland, a lawyer and judge in the juvenile court system, has (after paying regular visits for six years)
decided to actually relocate here.
After working in this profession for more than 20 years, she now wants to focus on her second, and parallel, career focus. It’s something she has been passionate about for a few years – namely, culturally specific work with children. Her website, www.minihoehli-strongkids.ch, provides an initial impression of her commitment in this area.
Tatjana has supported DaM since her first visit to Tarrafal in 2017. From the summer of 2023 onwards, she will be keen to contribute even more to DaM, and from a position of responsibility. She will start by taking charge of communication with our supporters (both active and potential) in Europe and will, in addition, be making new contacts with associations, foundations and other institutions that promote projects with and for children.
Her goal is to take her ideas and thoughts on working with children, and apply them with DaM on a bigger scale than she has hitherto done on her own. Tatjana’s desire is to create a place in Tarrafal for children:
-where they can have time, space and expert support for their schoolwork;
-with leisure opportunities offering the children other important activities (sporting, artistic, social, etc.);
-and where they can learn things that go beyond their family and school setting and are important to their personal development, such as confidence and assertiveness, self-efficacy and social skills.
The plan is for this to start on a small scale in the late summer. We have already begun looking for a suitable location, although this is proving a bit of a challenge. As Tatjana will remain in Switzerland until July to prepare for her move, time is on our side – but the clock is ticking and now, even on Cape Verde, the pace of life seems to be accelerating …
As generous as ever
A visit from Jochen Hoeffgen of the Pangea e. V. charity is always a great pleasure – not only because Jochen is such a nice person (which he is!), but because he always comes bearing very welcome gifts for the inhabitants of Tarrafal. Depending on the focus and needs at a given time, different groups have benefited from his generosity – sometimes it’s primary-school pupils (the school garden, school supplies), sometimes it’s most of the families in Tarrafal (donations of foodstuffs and other essentials during the Covid epidemic), and sometimes it’s patients at the health centre (various supplies and equipment).
During his visit to Tarrafal between 18 and 21 January 2023, the health centre was once again the beneficiary of donated non-cash items from Pangea: two blood sugar monitors, a new septic-fluid suction pump (the first having broken very quickly) and various small items. So it’s a big thank you from head nurse Caetano, everyone at DaM and all the patients!
On a sounder footing
On 18 October 2022, an unusual donated item arrived at the health centre in Tarrafal – one that will, in the future, put quite a few local people on a sounder footing. It was a pneumatic walking boot: an AirSelect Elite Walker. This product is designed to help patients with fractures of the ankle and/or foot, and severe ankle sprains, to hold the foot in the required position. Whereas in Germany the boot is typically worn for an extended period, it will be used here when moving patients with such injuries to Porto Novo without risk of further damage, where the affected foot can be treated and put in plaster.
This orthopaedic boot was gifted by Torsten Sielaff on behalf of an equally unusual venue (Kulturscheune Gassmühle Rotta; (German-language website)). It played host to our tireless supporters Jeanine and Steffen – of the double act that is the Jeanine Vahldiek Band – for their concert on 8 July this year. So a big thank you to Thorsten, Jeanine and Steffen, our trio of generous helpers!
1600 kilograms of support
Right from the start, Brigitte Zellermayer from Austria has been a highly valued supporter.
Since April 2012, she has been regularly sending 10 kg parcels to Tarrafal – bandages, children’s toys, school supplies and children’s clothing. During a trip to Cape Verde in November 2011 with Annette, founder of DaM, she had a fantastic idea: plasters and bandages from ‘expired’ car first-aid kits are no longer needed in Austria, but are urgently required on Cape Verde. This marked the beginning of her extraordinarily committed support: she approached private individuals and car dealerships to obtain first-aid kits that were no longer needed and to ask for other assistance. She also told her fellow parishioners at the Marienpfarre church in Vienna/Hernals about her campaign and requested help. Other private and commercial sponsors from Brigitte’s circle of acquaintances do their bit to pay for school materials and other useful items, as well as the postage costs for the parcels.
In August 2022, we received package no. 165 – amazing, isn’t it?
So, to Brigitte and all her supporters, a supersize thank-you!
Shopping in the school playground
Rucksacks, clothes for babies and adults, cuddly toys, bed linen and fleece blankets, as well as handbags and much more besides, were available for purchase at the fourth DaM flea market held on the primary school’s playground on 9 April 2022. In a joint effort with four of the school’s teachers, we sold everything that had been sent to us as part of donated packages from Austria and Germany (with the exception of winter clothing and school supplies) since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic. The asking price per item, ranging from 10 escudos (less than 9 euro cents) to 100 escudos, was a purely nominal sum, and especially the children were delighted they could rummage through and buy toys to their hearts‘ content – at these bargain prices, how could their parents say no?
Nevertheless, the proceeds amounted to an impressive 14,140 escudos (EUR 128.54), which have now been earmarked for one of the projects at the school. Writing implements, pencil cases, brushes and other school supplies included in the above-mentioned packages were also given to the primary school as donations. The winter clothing items went to the inhabitants of Bolona in the hill country, where – unlike here – it can get quite cold. A big thank-you to everyone involved!
Another step forward
March 4th, 2022 saw Dietmar Schirge and Paul Blecker present our health centre with further equipment on behalf of Aachen-based charity Pangea e.V.; they topped up this donation with some self-funded pharmacy purchases.
The posto sanitário now has a septic-fluid suction pump that had been requested by its nurse, Caetano Delgado. And the inhalation device, which is past its prime, can also be replaced. A wide range of medical supplies including compresses, syringes and needles, masks and – last but not least – pain relief ointment – will now be available for a while. This represents another considerable step forward for our health centre in terms of resources for patient care – many a local hospital on the island can only dream of receiving such excellent support and having equipment like ours!
Despite Covid ...
Jochen Hoeffgen of the Aachen-based organization Pangea e.V. paid us a visit in Tarrafal between 7 and 11 January 2022.
Since the summer of 2019 this non-profit association, which also supports young people in India and Nepal as well as on the African continent, has been assisting these pupils and their families in Tarrafal. Its cooperation with DaM has now resulted in the creation of a school garden for our primary school, and pupils have received school supplies; our health centre has been given some new medical equipment as well. With families losing income due to the Covid pandemic, Pangea e.V. has funded several donations of food aid.
On his third visit to Tarrafal, the items Jochen brought with him (in addition to school resources) were, as before, chiefly medical equipment for our health centre: a stable stretcher and more than a dozen orthopaedic splints of various types. Our nurse Caetano Delgado and his assistant Jair Pires were delighted to take receipt of these items. Thank you!
Because of Covid ...
On 29 December, we presented a member of each family with a sack or box containing a small non-cash contribution to the household budget: rice, pasta, olive oil and cooking oil, as well as – especially for the festive season – smoked sausages, biscuits and fruit juice.
This was the third cesta basica donated by the Aachen-based association Pangea e.V., which supports children and young people in Asien and Africa. So, on behalf of everyone, we’re sending out a big thank you!
The environment and music
The second weekend together with the Porto Novo-based organization Young Talent took place from 23 to 26 August 2021. As before, everything revolved around the issue of environmental protection, and as before, music played a major part in the proceedings.
Two speakers from Mindelo spent two evenings sharing information with the young participants from Tarrafal and Porto Novo about climate change and its consequences, and also chaired the subsequent debate.
However, the highlight this time was that the musicians from Young Talent took the composition they had written and presented when visiting Tarrafal a year earlier, and recorded it as a CD. To round off their time together, the youngsters again held a litter pick on the beach.
A Christmas hamper
On 23 December 2020 we distributed the ‘cesta basica no. 3’ – the third food aid donation for families from Tarrafal affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We topped up the amount donated by the non-profit organization Pangea e.V., enabling us to give families a ‘Christmas hamper’ containing a few festive goodies as well as staple foodstuffs. This meant that, with Pangea’s support, we were able to wish 160 families a Merry Christmas in this special way.
We are collaboratively involved with other non-profit organizations in Cape Verde and Germany:
The non-profit organization ‘Young Talent’, from Porto Novo on Santo Antão, was created in 2017 with the aim of “Promoting and motivating young talent from the community of Porto Novo in various areas – music, dance, hip hop, technology and art – so that these youngsters don’t lose their abilities over time, but use them to contribute to our community.”
Get in touch with us ...
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