Cyprus Mail

Dashin foundation changing lives

By Bejay Browne

A LIMASSOL based foundation set up only April by a Russian entrepreneur and his wife has already donated two hundred thousand euros towards a variety of charity projects.

The couple launched the ‘Andrey and Julia Dashin Foundation’ with the aim of benefiting the entire community of Cyprus, the Dashins’ adopted home.

Early in 2014, an article in the Cyprus Mail about a blind toddler – Iordanis (Dani) Demetrof – caught Andrey Dashin’s attention. He found the fact that a lack of funds could prevent a child from regaining his sight was heartbreaking. The couple stepped in and personally donated the final 5000 euros needed for the toddler’s treatment.

Following that donation, the Dashins’ foundation was officially launched in May.

The businessman said that in less than six months, the foundation has participated in over a dozen social and community projects; and helped numerous families by offering various means of economic material assistance, including distributing store vouchers.

“Since the beginning of the new academic year, education has become a priority for us with the launch of the three new ‘Back to School’ causes,” Andrey said. “Health is also an important for us and we have already managed to aid with at least five lifesaving treatments for applicants to the foundation.”

Dashin’s wife Julia said that it’s important to the couple that they give something back to the country which they now regard as home.

“Some years ago we chose to make Cyprus our home and brought our three children here to raise them in this sunny and hospitable country. We felt that we can and need to give back to the country which has become our home.”

She added that establishing the foundation has enabled them to raise awareness of ongoing problems and encourage others to help.
Dashin is founder of one of the world’s leading forex brokers, Alpari.

He is also a committed philanthropist. Close to a decade ago in Russia, he set up the Alpari charitable foundation to offer financial support to disadvantaged and disabled children. He said he strongly believes that needy children should be helped to reach their full potential and go on to lead meaningful lives.

“Members of society, and especially privileged ones, need to play a greater role and be more socially proactive,” he said.”It’s in our own hands to make not only our own life better but also to strengthen the community we all live in. Social responsibility and care for the community is what led me to realise our foundation.”

On average, the foundation receives fifteen requests for help a week. Applications are evaluated by experienced and impartial members of the foundation’s committee, which usually meets twice a month. All applications are reviewed against a monthly budget to evaluate the funds available, said Dashin.

He said that the criteria needed for the selection process is simple – a genuine need (based in Cyprus) with an immediate need for action. The necessity and urgency of the situation is what is closely examined, he said.

The applicant also needs to prove the ‘genuine’ factor and support it with persuasive evidence.

“The applicants need to express a genuine need in good faith, and explain why it is so critical to receive financial aid, backing up the information with appropriate reasons, circumstances and motives. In other words, the application needs to be convincing,” he said.

Urgent cases are usually dealt with immediately and the rest are on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Julia, his wife and co-founder of the foundation, stressed the importance of careful selection, adding that all applications are subject to a meticulous series of checks before an answer to a request for help is given.

This may include liaising with Social Welfare Office and on-site direct visits.

She said the foundation also favours individuals or groups which are proactive in trying to do something to reach their goals.
“It’s in the hands of every individual applicant to ensure that once they apply they follow up with the application and show efforts being done to improve their situation,” she said.

As well as donating 5,000 euros to Dani’s family towards his medical treatment, the foundation has recently stepped in and granted the final 7,000 euros to enable the Cyprus Kidney Association (expats) – a Paphos-based charity – to purchase a much needed dialysis machine for the Paphos general hospital’s renal unit.

Julia Dashin said she has found people in Cyprus to be giving by nature and used to participating in various charity and community projects.
“This is a way to change society – some give and others take, but at the end of the day we all turn out happier. Any act of giving enlightens one’s soul and this is good to remember,” she said.

The couple said that the foundation is now hoping to attract more partners and individuals to work together on common projects. Collective action is always more effective, they agreed.

And for the future, the couple says they are aiming to develop a number of ongoing projects into large scale annual programmes.
“We also want to develop a better, more effective community fundraising approach.”

In the autumn further projects and events are planned and will be posted on the foundations website and Facebook page, said Dashin.
“Our lives are always full of opportunities, which we either notice or which pass and we would like to hope that more people join us in our endeavours in Cyprus.”


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