Updated: Nov 10
Memoirs of Charitable work in the Nature Isle by Danielle Edwards Gallagher, Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Black sand beaches, deep blue seas for seafarers and pristine rivers with healthy local fish. Once a gem for pirates, Dominica is still like The Garden of Eden. Mass development is controversial because the culture is closely tied to small industries like freshly baked bread and pies in outdoor iron ovens, and farm to table hotel menus including smoked chicken and crab legs on creole day- even at 5- star hotels.
Growing up I volunteered during holidays at barbecues and bake sales to raise funds for the Bethesda Methodist Church. Since then, my volunteer journey has taken me to the ancestral lands while in law school at the university of the West Indies where I volunteered with the special Olympics team in the Kalinago territory a few times. Mr. Irish, a retired police officer was very enthusiastic at the time. The disabled people from the territory enjoy participating in special Olympics abroad.
Right after I moved back to Dominica from Washington DC I worked with the geothermal awareness group. This grassroots organization engaged members of the public on their concerns related to scaling up geothermal energy on the island. I used my knowledge of research on public participation and obstacles to the development of renewable energy in the Caribbean to engage some of the members.
After tropical storm Erika, while my mom was President of the rotary club I volunteered with packing and delivering relief supplies to displaced people. This was around 2015 and 2016. Around this time, I worked with a lawyer who is very popular among the people of the south-east. I remember buying relief supplies for some displaced families from Petite Savanne where bodies were washed away after the disaster.
Some years later I spent some time on the island before I left to advance my career and get married in the state of Texas. In the aftermath of the beastly hurricane Maria a Dutch philanthropist, Marieke can Asten let me come to a couple schools with her to assist with an art program for children who were traumatized by the fact that their families were broken following these storms. The program is sponsored by my Dominica breadfruit house foundation. Sometimes the trauma of disaster recovery can be a beast to academic progress. Some of these children live with members of the extended family and they don’t know their parents very well. In 2021 I volunteered with the art program on my birthday.
The greatest of these all is my legal pro Bono work for underprivileged people including family members, primarily in land & titles and personal injury matters.
Overall I was happy with my experience in charitable work on the nature isle.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.