2023 Annual Report

31/05/2024

2023 Annual Report
[Mrs Maria Elena Cuomo with pupils from the KG Kandigai school, India, including the young Satish Kumar - February 2005]
The Preface by Maria Elena Cuomo, President

In these extremely troubling times, it is important to hold onto hope and appreciate and acknowledge past positive acts and deeds, no matter how small they may seem in the broader universal scale of events. Ongoing wars, global conflicts, and environmental crises are profoundly impacting all of us, pushing the operational efficiency of international NGOs to the limit and beyond.


In 2023, our small foundation faced significant challenges, resulting in the suspension of many international projects. Despite these setbacks, in this preface, I wish to focus on our positive achievements and recognize the support of friends and partnerships in those successes.

In 2001, our Foundation embarked on its mission to build and support schools for the most disadvantaged in the state of Tamil Nadu, Southern India. In 2004, the Alfredo Cuomo Scholarship Scheme was launched by my husband and co-founder, Alfredo Cuomo. As a former Fulbright Scholarship recipient, he understood the significant difference a ‘helping hand’ can make in shaping an individual’s future. Originally initiated at our high school in Kovalam, we later extended the scholarships to all our schools across Tamil Nadu.

Each year, these financial grants, which are based on both merit excellence and financial need, give critical support to deserving students during their undergraduate college years and have a beneficial impact on their future.

One example of the effect of our scholarships is the story of Sathish Kumar, a previously destitute orphan boy, and his younger brother who were enrolled at our most remote and rural school in KG Kandigai. After successfully completing his 12th standard schooling in 2007, Sathish Kumar became one of the first recipients of the scholarship at that school. His younger brother, Selva, also received a life-changing Cuomo scholarship in 2011. Both brothers obtained bachelor’s degrees and pursued master’s degrees in social work, and are now successfully working in careers in education and social welfare – Sathish as a project co-ordinator at Loyola College and Selva with Bill Clinton’s NGO, the American Indian Foundation.

Sathish and his brother are just an example of the long-term benefits of positive philanthropy, and we applaud them and all the others, for their achievements.

Since 2004, the Alfredo Cuomo Scholarship and the Elena Cuomo Scholarship have supported over 600 young male and female students in gaining higher educational skills, leading to improved career prospects and standards of living for themselves and their families. The specific funding for Sathish’s award was generously provided by fellow Italian and friend of the foundation, Count Massimiliano Zavagli Ricciardelli.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude to the count for his early support of our foundation’s work, as well as to our valued friends who have continued to support our scholarships.

Additionally, I would like to emphasize the profound impact of a long-term individual scholarship on Roshan Susairaj and his family, and my personal involvement in all aspects of this family has created a very strong bond between us.

Introduced to the foundation as a disabled 10-year-old in need, Roshan has since pursued his academic dreams with our support and encouragement. We have also empowered his mother with practical income-generating skills and funded his sister’s business study qualifications. Roshan’s successful completion of a BSc in Computer Science in 2023 and his current enrolment in an Intensive English course in London stand as testaments to our continued commitment to his development.

“For a person nothing is more important in life than a gaining a full education. I received that education with the help of Maria Elena Cuomo and the Cuomo Foundation. My life is like a building project and the support I get is like the foundations of that structure, without which my life would not be fully able to be built and complete.”
Roshan Susairaj - London


Finally, I would like to highlight a positive long-term partnership and friendship that has significantly impacted the classical world of piano competitions in Italy. Marcella Crudeli, the talented musical Maestro from Rome, has nurtured young classical pianists worldwide by providing them with a platform to showcase their talents in a prestigious annual event. The Cuomo Foundation has proudly supported the International Piano Competition Roma since 2004, and this commitment continued in 2023.

These are just a few of the many ongoing projects initiated and funded by the Cuomo Foundation. Despite the current global circumstances, we are dedicated to our work and remain committed to creating positive effect through our actions.

I thank you for taking the time to review this report and for being a valued supporter of our efforts.

- Maria Elena Cuomo
Monaco, Mars 2024

 

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