Tanna and Bryson Dang and the staff of “Eden In Love” have raised another $9,000 to go toward the remote Sri Lankan village of Wadurada that they hope to financially “adopt” for as long as five years.
The Hawaii couple plans to put their $25,000 first-place prize from the National Retail Federation’s “This is Retail” video contest to work helping the village in some meaningful and long-lasting way. Now they have $34,000 to use for the village and more will be coming. Staff and store fundraisers are ongoing.
The Dangs chose Sri Lanka because they feel drawn to the concept of island-to-island help, says Tanna, and because they felt an affinity with people they saw in pictures as they did their research. “Everyone seems to have this huge, contagious smile.”
The Dangs will be working through the organization Global Hope to adopt the village for up to five years, and still hope to visit it this year when unrest in the area settles down.
“Going into a foreign country is a big deal,” says Tanna. “You can’t just barge in. You have to be mindful and respectful.”
Currently there are protests in the city of Galle, about an hour and 45 minutes from Wadurada which is in the hills and so remote it doesn’t even show up on Google, says Tanna. Galle is the access city for air travel, but the unrest makes it unsafe for Westerners, the Dangs have been told. They’ll wait through July to see if their group can travel then. If not, says Tanna, they hope to visit sometime in October.
“It costs $15,000 (with Global Hope) to adopt a village for a year and that doesn’t include the transportation, airfare and everything on the ground,” says Tanna. “Whether we go or not, we’ll donate the money. And we’re committed to raising more money too.”
The Dangs won the national “This is Retail” video contest by focusing on their company’s philanthropic arm called “Divas Doing Good.” Each month they choose a charity to assist and will put together an event for that charity or raise money to help it.
The Dangs hope to take a group of eight people when they finally are able to take the trip to Sri Lanka. That first visit, says Tanna, may mean just the opportunity to begin establishing relationships with the village and finding out how they can best help in ways that will be sustainable.
To learn more about Eden In Love, read “Behind the Scenes at Eden In Love’s Online Launch,” appearing in the June 2012 issue of Hawaii Business magazine.
Photo by Greg Yamamoto