20 Nov

President Message December 2015

ROLDA President Message

Buffy is one of the 918 saved by ROLDA during 2015.

Buffy

photo: Buffy -before eye surgery

Buffy is a small lucky doggy. After loosing his eye, the surgery went well and his condition stabilized. Our staff is currently prepare Buffy to fly soon to Switzerland, where she will be adopted by a well known family of watchmakers. What an amazing future waits for Buffy to discover!

Buffy is one of the thousands of dogs that ROLDA helped since we begin our rescue mission in Romania. Next year we’ll celebrate 10 years since we are incorporated as charity in USA but also in Romania, country where, for the record, rescue activity started long before 2006.

Year 2007 was a turning point for ROLDA and its projects but also for me, Dana. It was the moment when I had the proof that a dream, no matter how ambitious or how “impossible” sounds, can become reality and the most important ingredient for this to happen is to believe in yourself, to choose the dream you wish to believe into, to invest your energy and time into that dream and to be persuasive. No big dreams are going to fulfill overnight!

In 2003, ROLDA built the small shelter in the village of Smardan, located south-east of Romania. Our activity was in direct proportion with our incomes. But my dreams were bigger (they always are). I hardly have time to stop and be happy of one achievement because my mind already projects plans for future. In a way, this is my secret recipe for feeling that I am alive.

I am a perfectionist. I consider things done with half measure a waste of time. I prefer quality versus quantity but also like to think global, to think big because I have high expectations from myself. The newsletters I write must be the best; the shelters that ROLDA owns should keep highest possible standards and be competitive by European standards.

In 2007, the local steel company‘ director phoned me and asked for a meeting. The steel plant (one of the largest steel plants from the World) wanted to work with a charity to solve humanely the strays’ problem. I presented my thoughts, ROLDA plan but I also had the power to impose a strict no kill policy which was followed every day, from the moment our collaboration started. Considering the numerous slaughters that take place across Romania, considering the amount that steel plant invested (and continue to invest) in this collaboration – private corporation funds invested for a no killing mission, considering the mutual respect and trust that comes from both sides (from ROLDA and from AMG) I think ROLDA has a lot of reasons to be proud!

Every beginning is complicated and uncertain. Of course some things could have been done differently from the start. At that time, I knew less about how to work with people, how to develop a large shelter’ management policy. I learn everything that I know now by following my instincts, by thinking like in chess play- two moves ahead, sometimes by also…improvising.

Working with and trusting people are by far the biggest challenges I have to deal with. But how someone can follow the charity’ related (big) dreams not working with people?! Charity is all related to people from organizational details to sponsors and supporters.

Years ago, I had an unpleasant personal and professional experience with a former partner that stole ROLDA contacts list and the money from our “common” account. Finding wrong people to work with is a problem that happened (and continue to happen) to many charities. It happens on occasion to us, too. The trick is to learn your lesson, keep close the people you can really count on and move on. Life is too short to stop dreaming, to stop taking action for what you care about!

My parents sustained this dream, they always encouraged and motivated me. They invested all their savings into ROLDA and today, our records show that this amount is over 50,000 EUR Of course, not entire amount at once, but during the most difficult moments, when a parent presence is the most needed!

What it started like a child dream, thanks to my parents support, which initially made everything possible, continuing with the steel plant corporate support,and  grew to the extent where we find ourselves today. But jumping from small or bigger steps, one thing I learn to always keep in mind: the ROLDA supporters are the one that make everything possible.

Lolita, Blu and Dana - Making of the 2015 Calendar

I started ROLDA in my 20’s and now in my 30’s I am still here, creating, hoping, dreaming. Where else I could be? I am always in search for ways to improve ROLDA and one thing that I plan to continue improving is how to make this charity be truly outstanding and unique.

Located in an extreme poor area of Romania, ROLDA was meant to exist not only to save the animals, which is a pretty noble mission itself, but also to change animals and people lives, to change community’ mentality.

How you can create, run and promote a charity among thousands of already powerful charities? Creating a charity is the easiest step. To run it, you need funding. People perceive you as a charity but in reality, you have to be a charity and a business in the same time.

And assuming you can handle cash flow…Promote it…to put your charity in light among others very competitive and well known charities with same goals that’s the real challenge!

Did I mention how much I like challenges? And above all, winning…who doesn’t like winning?!

I find the force that it keeps me going in various things. One thing, as you would expect, is the moment we are able to completely heal a very injured animal. Or the moment when a frightened, scared dog trusts again people and become someone’s pet.

I often ask – will an adopted dog will remember me if we’ll ever meet again in this life?

One thing that gives me power to continue and motivates me to be better is the enemies’ hate. Since our collaboration with the steel plant started, we have an increased number of vicious and crazy enemies. Their hate is part of the fuel that makes me stronger.

To discover the ROLDA Accomplishments during 2015, click here. Do not forget! YOU are the power that made these accomplishments happen! And we at ROLDA are grateful to you for that!

Every new life saved, every new puppy that grew up healthy and sociable, every dog rehabilitated and adopted out, every new project accomplished, new building completed. We shared moments of terror, when there was no future for millions of street dogs was uncertain or dark. We shared moments of joy when we defeated the distance and the time (and all the other obstacles) and felt, together, our hearts beating the same. Feeling the “humane” side of us is really unique!

One approach that makes ROLDA really unique is the branches that our charity has all over the World. We currently are incorporated officially in USA, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, UK and of course Romania. This year, we decided to stop expanding, to give time to the current branches to grow in strength.

Finding people to run these branches is a therapy for my past experiences with human beings, some as I previously said completely wrong but some, good experiences from which I learn and transformed myself in who I am today.

I noticed a trend among some animal charities directors to show their weakness (in very carefully selected words) to win people sympathy. I will not use such dramatic, marketing strategy. I will not tell you a story about how naive I was, how fragile from emotional point of view I was…because I am strong, determined, as a leader should be! I fee responsible for the paid job of 15 people and for the life of hundreds of rescue dogs. Telling you how fragile I am in the same time would be ridiculous and a lie.

I do not want to win your pity, your sympathy, and eventually your support by lying you and/or telling you what you would like to hear or what studies show that you might be touched about. I always said what I was thinking, regardless the consequences, or the number of new enemies I would turn against me.

I have reasons to believe that ROLDA supporters are educated, smart and sensitive and share our goals and general vision.

Even if ROLDA looks like one woman show charity, there are many women and men behind every ROLDA accomplishment, both physically working or using their minds to create, improve, upgrade, and evolve.

ROLDA supporters are not a special category but a part of this charity accomplishments and projects for future.

Click here to have a look of just a few examples of accomplished objectives. Each and every step that represents ROLDA past was done because you contributed; you placed a brick at our strong foundation. And if myself and my team are fortunate, you will be here for ROLDA future!

Thank you for another great year spent together to help Romanian animals!

With hopes,

Dana Costin

Founder ROLDA