Sep 5, 2019

Happy Community Initiative meets generous family:

“We want to give back to the places we visit”

ORANJESTAD — Travelling is one of life’s biggest privileges. It is wonderful to be able to go to another place with your family and enjoy the change of environment and people. The Chatterjee family from New Jersey seek to give back to the places they go to, to help the local community and to educate their own children. “We read about the recently launched Happy Community Initiative (HCI) and their objective to raise $ 110K by next year’s month of June and there we found our goal”, says Ninna Chatterjee, mother of three children in the age of 7, 8 and 11. Together with husband Rocco Chatterjee they provided three Aruban children with school supplies.

This is a story that started with a short email. To reach out and take that first step makes the difference. Ninna read about HCI and emailed them. With the assistance of Fundacion pa nos Communidad or Foundation for our Community the three Aruban students were invited to participate. From there the ball kept rolling until that beautiful moment in The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba where the family meet the three Aruban children to hand over their gifts. Ninna:”We wish our children to be aware of the communities we visit and that happened for sure. As soon as we received the list with needed school supplies our kids insisted to pick out everything and it had to be at least as cool as their own stuff. They wrote little notes to them so yes, our kids took very much part in this.” During the interview the sound of the playing children in the background proofed that both sides were more than happy, nothing seems more rewarding than that.

Small Gesture, Big Impact

Aruba’s Visitor Charity Program, the recently-launched Happy Community Initiative (HCI), is raising funds to roll out an after school program.  “The objective is to raise $110K by June 1st, 2020 which can cater to 40 youngsters for one year where they will receive homework guidance, opportunity to participate in sports, music lessons and art classes, meals and beverages, operations costs, guidance support and materials”, says Kimberly Mathilda, Coordinator of HCI. 

Some Facts

Millions of people around the world love Aruba, the ONE HAPPY ISLAND and the home away from home. Tourism in Aruba is performing great. However, in Aruba, about 6 of 10 youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 are alone or without adult supervision after school time. In most cases, it is because their parents are working. In addition to this, many of Aruba’s youngsters do not travel (often) and experience boredom from a lack of activities during school vacations. Furthermore, 4 out of 10 Aruban youngsters do not finish secondary school. This is a very big issue for Aruba’s future economy and the tourism industry.  A recent study found; At least 60% of Aruba’s youth is asking for afterschool programs, aiming at sports, cooking, art programs and a safe place to hang out with their friends.