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Ike Cohen's 92nd birthday

At a press conference at the Manchebo Beach Resort, owner Ike Cohen personally greeted press members at the French Steakhouse. The gathering designed to promote his upcoming 7th annual Charity Fair held in honor of his birthday, was especially rewarding. Last year on Ike’s 91st celebration, he was unable to attend. In a Florida hospital for urgent medical treatment, he was present at his party only in spirit. For his 92nd bash, Ike will oversee the festivities himself as well as put the money collected at the event to good use.

Not surprisingly, Ike wished to conduct some of the conference himself, addressing the handful of people in the famed restaurant, carefully picking his thoughts and words.

A philosopher at heart Ike explained that while lying in his hospital bed, last year, he often questioned the reason to go on living. While his body temporarily was in need of repairs, his mind, in sound and exceptional shape, pondered whether it was wise to go on fighting. “This is the taste of life, the reason to go on living,” he shared with his audience. Back on the island with his health much-improved he was recently able to secure an investment of Afls 125.000 toward the construction of a FAVI center for the blind. The funds courtesy of the Ike Cohen foundation! With the compulsory ‘25% down-payment’ in place the Dutch government coughed up the addition 75% required to complete the project. Needless to say that without Ike’s intervention, the new center would still be relegated to the realm of dreams, says FAVI Director Mieke Droog . 

The 7th annual fair will take place this year on May 31st. While born on June 2nd, Ike likes to throw weekend-celebrations to maximize the attendance of locals and visitors. His European-style Manchebo Beach Resort bears all party expenses, featuring nonstop music and delicious food. Thus all money raised from ticket-sales is earmarked for local charities.

It is public knowledge that when his beloved wife Greta passed away, a few years ago, Ike turned his focus to others, striving to improve the lives of the elderly on the island. In 2001 he established a not-for-profit foundation and since then has been investing much of his time and his resources in forgotten causes. Ike, one of the island’s most-respected economic pillars, owns a number of successful businesses here. A resort, a food distribution company, an airline catering plant; he is an involved, finger-on-the pulse operator, entrepreneur, and he regularly applies the same principles of hard work and unflinching dedication to his current activities, namely charity work.

The Manchebo Charity Fair picked four local service clubs as its marketing agents for the upcoming affair. At the press conference, the organizations each received 100 door tickets for the event. They will sell the tickets and pocket the money, meaning they will be allowed to use the Afls 40.000 raised from ticket sales to sustain and support the charities of their choice. The four lucky service clubs enjoying the rainfall are Quota International of Aruba, the Kiwanis of Palm beach, the Women’s Club of Aruba and the Rotarians.

Representatives of those service clubs were on hand to receive the tickets and thank the Ike Cohen Foundation for the thoughtful inclusion.

Tickets for the 92nd edition of Ike’s birthday will also be sold via TEC. Inc., Ike’s food distribution company and via the Manchebo Beach Resort. Proceeds from those ticket sales are also earmarked for FAVI, which is obviously Ike’s latest favorite cause. FAVI is the organization helping the blind on the island. Their facility in Dakota is outdated and small and in need of monetary assistance. FAVI’s director Mieke Droog expressed her gratitude on behalf of her small organization. Our clients, on the receiving end of the donation, are very happy, she said.

The party at Manchebo Beach Resort takes off at 7 p.m. and wraps up at midnight. The island’s best musicians among them Oreo and Claudius Philips, Smooth and Giovanni Trim, Mariachi Aruba, will be in charge of the entertainment and the Manchebo’s culinary team will be preparing an all-you-care-to-eat buffet. All bars will be serving bottomless libations, on the festive occasion. Tickets will be available with Ingrid Tromp at TEC, also at Optica Oduber & Kan, at the Economic Center of Sabana Liber and at Manchebo Beach Resort.

Ike reports he has another project in the wings, once he successfully concludes his current fund-raising drive. The project he has in mind involves the community of local charities. He wants to spearhead a national effort in which all organizations take part. He would like to see the private sector and the public sector come together for the advantage of the island in its entirety. We will become a ‘powerhouse,’ he says, if we work together. Ike also expressed his wish for the Charity Fair to go on beyond his own years. While asking the almighty for a few more days/months/years of good health, he reports his efforts worth living for, regarding his upcoming plans the essence of life.

Financial director Ton Koolman chaired the conference and is seen here in the pictures handing tickets over to social clubs. 


FAVI – recipient of funds from the Ike Cohen Foundation

At the press conference, Director Mieke Droog described the activities of the FAVI center. FAVI at the moment caters to adults, children and babies. The number of visually challenged people in the beginning of the 90s was about 500. During the latest population count, 1038 visually-impaired citizens were identified on the island. It’s normal, and proportional to the growth of our population, says Mieke. Among adults, the center teaches orientation, living skills, computer, brail and typing. Children received swimming lessons and gymnastics. The elderly enjoy arts and crafts in community, while babies, if diagnosed early receive visual stimulation. We are now able to diagnose babies as early as three month, Mieke informs. Early detection allows parents and caretakers to rise to the challenge at an early age, she explains. Blind students attending school on the island receive help with their studies at the center. FAVI is most proud of its accomplished university student, attending law school on the island and preparing for an extraordinary, ordinary career. Mieke reports the center allows the visually impaired to practice many life skills in a protected, supportive environment. From walking to doing dishes, to jogging and cooking a meal, they practice until confident within the center, then they venture into the world, nicely-prepared. With the donation of the Ike Cohen Foundation secured, FAVI asked the Minister of Welfare for a piece of land in the center of the island. As soon as a location is identified plans for construction will be made.

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