Last year my introductory statement for the 2019 Annual Report focussed on my personal thoughts and considered the effects of general humanitarian activities with both its strengths and its potential weaknesses.

As this year has been a tragedy for so many all over the world, I thought that reporting our main actions, without comments would be sufficient and appropriate.

As 2020 came to an end it was clear to all of us it has been a year like no other…

The pandemic has brought upon us the realisation that we cannot manage 21st century disasters and risks with tools from the previous centuries.

It has forced us all to learn to use technology effectively to manage work and relations remotely while trying to maintain effectiveness, quality and standards. In 2021 we will need to continue to build awareness and accessibility, for all, on these new ways of working.

In India, despite all the schools being shut we maintained communications with the school authorities and responded with financial support through COVID-19 Relief Packages for the communities and ongoing financial aid and educative tools for the teachers of the Cuomo Foundation supported Schools throughout Tamil Nadu.

In Senegal, the CCPC transformed itself into a COVID-19 centre adapting and utilising their high dependency equipment, specially trained staff and wards to successfully treat COVID affected patients.

In Burkina Faso, in many regions, groundwater can be the only water supply that is safe and better protected from pollution. As a COVID-19 relief action we helped rehabilitate 4 Bore wells in strategic locations. Access to safe sanitary water greatly improved the communities’ abilities to protect themselves against the spread of the pandemic.

Also in Burkino Faso we supported a local community initiative for a start-up online news and information forum.

In Italy, we supported the first ever exclusive online only international dance Forum competition in Rome by the Accademia Nazionale Danza.

In France, in response to the catastrophic floods caused by Storm ALEX we donated three
4×4 wheel vehicles to support the stricken communities of the Alpes-Maritimes.

During this last unimaginable year, on both a personal and very professional level, I was deeply moved and humbled to be awarded two special honours by two countries that are so very close to my heart.

In Monaco:
At a special ceremony in the Prince’s Palace, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco bestowed upon me The Order of Grimaldi in “recognition of the outstanding solidarity shown by the Cuomo Foundation at the height of the global health crisis.” The Cuomo Foundation made an exceptional donation to the Monegasque Red Cross for the funding and acquisition of masks, gloves and other essential accessories intended for health personnel.

In Senegal:
I was honoured to be awarded by The President of the Republic of Senegal His Excellency Mr Macky Sall the National Order of the Lion of Senegal with the rank of Commander at a special ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Dakar.

In bestowing Senegal’s highest civil and military honour for exceptional merit and service, President Sall highlighted the Cuomo Foundation’s commitment “to Senegal and the eminent services rendered to the Senegalese Nation”.

COVID-19 has given the humanitarian system an insight into the overlapping crises of tomorrow, where the initial stressor-a climate event, a new epidemic or even a cyber security incident-could cause domino effects in economies and critical systems relied upon by billions. The Cuomo Foundation, as a small private foundation, cannot predict what the future will hold but our commitment remains and we will stay connected and hope to be inspired and continue with our efforts to contribute to a better future for those most in need.

Maria Elena Cuomo
Founder and President
March 31, 2021

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