Kupuna Caregiver: Project Dana

Kupuna Caregiver

HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s a lot of love and support for kupuna inside a blue house in Moiliili.

“Project Dana is an interfaith volunteer caregivers program. Through trained volunteers, we offer what we call social support to the frail elders, family caregivers, and disabled persons,” said Project Dana Executive Director Cyndi Osajima.

Project Dana has been caring for kupuna for 30 years.

“We just celebrated our 30th-anniversary last month,” said Osajima. “It was started by two visionary women, the late Shimegi Kanezawa, and then our founding administrator, Mrs. Rose Nakamura. It started at Moiliili Hongawnji during Bon Dance season in 1989 in the kitchen and they thought it was time for Buddhists to be more active.”

Their caregiver support group’s goal? Alleviate stress.

“We encourage them as much as possible to do some kind of self-care,” said Caregiver Support Group Coordinator Maria Morales.

They also recommend to talk it out.

“If you hear other caregivers are going through the same situation or maybe a worse situation than you are, you feel that you’re not alone in the problem. And learn from each other on how to cope,” Morales said.

From their “rap sessions” to educational services and group outings, Project Dana is always looking for volunteers.

“One thing that we always say, that Dana — which means selfless giving — Dana is a joy and our volunteers love to do what they can do to help,” said Osajima.

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