Who We Are: The Council of Friends of New Amsterdam (COFONA) is a collaborative initiative that networks among individuals, associations, and agencies for the overall educational and socio-economic growth and development of the town of New Amsterdam.
How associations began: Over the years, many Guyanese immigrants to the US, Canada, and England have formed associations to promote Guyanese cultural heritage, or to foster social interaction among Guyanese abroad. Most of these associations addressed specific needs of institutions or causes. However, a common theme among these groups was a desire to give back to the society from which they came. One such organization to focus on the Berbice region was the Guyana Berbice Association (GBA). Started in Toronto, Canada, the GBA soon expanded with chapters in New York and Washington, D.C. From its inception, the GBA and its chapters functioned as non-political, socio-cultural associations focusing on the needs of Guyanese at home, and overseas, and have made significant monetary contributions to institutions and causes in New Amsterdam, and elsewhere. One such contribution was the donation of an ambulance to the New Amsterdam Public Hospital. All those individuals who, over the years, have demonstrated their fervent commitment to improving the lives of residents back home must be complimented for their sacrificial and dedicated service to their native land.
High school alumni associations are also actively involved in the community. These include: Berbice High School Alumni Association, Berbice Educational Institute Alumni Association, Victoria High School Alumni Association, Multilateral Secondary School Alumni Association, and others. More recently, the newer immigrants groups are now interacting online using social media tools such as facebook, myspace, Linkedin, and Guyana Reunion.
Our focus: COFONA will focus on collaborating and networking among interested parties and stakeholder entities to maximize efforts to secure resources for the overall development of New Amsterdam. Through networking, we purpose to enable existing organizations to be more effective. We seek to collaborate with the residents of New Amsterdam to identify and prioritize needs, then develop ways to garner resources to address those needs.
Join the effort: Come join the effort and contribute to the development of New Amsterdam. Participate in your associations’ activities, volunteer your time and effort to plan and secure funding, attend fund raisers, and join us to implement strategies and programs that would address the long-term needs of the town affectionately called New Amsterdam!