Welcome to Project Dana. Its headquarters is nestled in Moili‘ili in a little blue house, which was donated to Moili‘ili Hongwanji Mission by a long-time dedicated member.
In recognition of the great and growing need of in-home assistance for Hawai‘i’s frail elderly, Project Dana was launched in 1989 by the Moili‘ili Hongwanji Mission with the wise leadership and foresight of founder Mrs. Shimeji Kanazawa and founding administrator Rose Nakamura. Project Dana is an interfaith volunteer caregiving program that provides a variety of supportive services to the elderly, disabled persons and family caregivers to ensure their well-being, independence and dignity in an environment of their choice. Support comes through a corps of trained volunteers from a coalition of churches/temples and community organizations that demonstrate the universal principle of DANA, a Sanskrit word that means “selfless giving without the desire for recognition or reward.”
Volunteer project coordinator Cyndi Osajima is one of the staff members who works out of the “office.” She has been with Project Dana since 1993 and considers this her dream job. “I am honored and consider it a privilege to be with Project Dana, working with the devoted staff, site leaders and volunteers. I learn so much from the elderly as they share their life experiences” she says.
Part of Osajima’s job includes conducting orientations for new volunteers, matching volunteers to the requests of the elders, providing information and referrals, and giving presentations to organizations, agencies, workshops, senior fairs and groups about Project Dana.
“I am grateful to work in a field where I can utilize my academic knowledge and put my faith into action as a Buddhist,” she says.
With an increasing number of elderly in Hawai‘I and greater demands put on social support services, Project Dana fills important service gaps by providing respite, in-person visits or telephone calls, transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping assistance, caregiver support groups and home safety assessments/education. Working with more than 200 public and private agencies, organizations and individuals, Project Dana provides compassionate and loving care to help advance the well-being of Hawai‘i’s elders as they age in place.
As the volunteers are the “heart” of The Project, on Sept. 20, 2014, Project Dana will be honoring and thanking all volunteers throughout the state with a 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Anyone needing services or interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Project Dana.