For the last three dec-ades, the name David Du-lal-Whiteway has become synonymous with bank-ing and the country’s fi-nancial sector.
But what many people may not know is that the dedi-cated banker has also been committing his time to FEEL. Back in 1998, Dulal-White-way joined the Board of Di-rectors of FEEL.
Four years later, in 2002, he assumed the role of Chair-man. Fifteen years into his stewardship, Dulal-White-way is proud to be celebrating the organization’s 25th anni-versary, and his satisfaction and appreciation for the work the foundation has been do-ing continues to grow.
However, he is cognizant of the challenges FEEL has been fac-ing.
“We have to find cash to cover our operating expenses and that has been the biggest challenge for us over the last few years. For many years the majority of our financial support came from one Compa-ny which can no longer do so. We therefore have to look elsewhere for financial support. Most of our goods are sourced from abroad and are therefore subject to the usual fees and transport costs. We have to maintain an office, and a warehouse, which has been generously provided to us by the Fernandes family since the inception of FEEL. Our operat-ing expenses amount to about one million dollars a year. This is not an unreasonable amount given that we distributed goods to the value of $34 million in 2016.
”The Chairman explained that the charitable organization has been focusing on ways to get more peo-ple involved and for them to have a greater understanding of the work that FEEL does.
Dulal-Whiteway added that sup-porting FEEL, and by extension, the disadvantaged in society does not have to be costly or be done in a massive way.
“Support can come from any fo-rum. If we can get 50,000 persons to give one dollar per month, over the course of a year we will collect $600 thousand. We have always worked on the premise that if we can get a lot of persons to provide small sup-port that will then give us the finan-cial resources to continue the good work of FEEL. So please come on board”.
No one wants to be poor
The Chairman said, despite the uphill battles, the founda-tion is determined and commit-ted to staying the course when it comes to assisting those in need and improving lives. In fact, he says although the gross domes-tic product or financial wealth of the country has greatly increased from when FEEL was first estab-lished 25 years ago, poverty has not declined. This the Chairman said, cements the need for an or-ganization like FEEL in Trinidad and Tobago and the work it does.
Dulal-Whiteway contended that people are keen to live a ful-filling life, poverty free.
“I don’t think people want to be dependent for their whole life. I think they want to break out of poverty, we just need to find the structures and the processes where we can help them get out of the situation in which they are in. I won’t say it’s a situation of being lazy or not working hard enough. I think we need to create the environment in which people can find opportunities. We need to get more of our youths involved in education and into learning. The fact of the matter is while we try to address the medium to long term issues we do have a forest that is on fire, so we have to deal with that now. If you don’t deal with the immediate, you will end up with a situation where you have no acceptable medium to long term future”.
A nation filled with generosity
But the Chairman said both he and others at FEEL believe in the goodness of the people of this nation. He explained that often in times of crisis, citizens come together to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of those in distress. Dulal-Whiteway said, this kindness and generosity must take place regularly and continu-ously.
For those who may be uncertain as to how the money donated is being put to use, the FEEL Chair-man gave the assurance that there is no reason to worry. “ I want to assure you that over the last 25 years FEEL has effectively and ef-ficiently managed its financial re-sources as it delivered its various programs to assist those in need. We help you in achieving your own goals in assisting those who are less fortunate in our society”. As the foundation looks ahead to celebrating more milestones and helping turn tragedies into tri-umphs for countless citizens, its Chairman paid homage to FEEL founder Clive Pantin. He said it all could not have been possible had it not been for the vision of Clive Pantin as well as those who work tirelessly to bring hope.
“We owe it to our founder Mr Pantin, who had this vision many years ago of creating an umbrella CSO, which will continue to work to eradicate poverty in this coun-try. That vision is one that we re-ally hold true. We want to thank all those who have assisted FEEL over the years and the CSOs who work hard to improve the lives of those in their communities. They are the real heroes. They are the ones out there working closely with the disadvantaged in their communities. With your help we will continue to support them.”