Dharma Care – A Story of Survival and Success

Difficult Early Days

Dharma Care, in various manifestations, has been operating as a charity since 1981. Davin Shellshear (Board Chairperson) and Irwan Wyllie (CEO) were both on the original Board, but their careers soon took them to other states and countries and they lost touch with Dharma Care for many years.  

In those early years, the charity went through many ups and downs.  At times, it flourished, at other times it was close to being wound up as it struggled with a series of management and financial issues.  Running a charity is not an easy task.


There were, however, always people, many people, who believed in its potential and stepped in to provide support. It survived. In 2011, Davin returned to the Board and Irwan returned in 2015.  In 2016 we developed a new strategic plan, and with the right people turning up at the right times to provide their skills and commitment, the fortunes of Dharma Care began to grow – despite the challenges to our revenue from bushfires, floods and COVID. Last financial year, the cost-of-living crisis became the latest challenge.


As a result, last financial year donations were down by about 18%. Nevertheless, we received $146.8K. In addition to the above, we received a further $66K for Borneo Football International Foundation a couple of days after the end of the financial year, as well as a further $11.5K for the Winter Warmer campaign for homelessness support.

Success Since 2016

Despite the decline in donations this year, the bigger picture is one of great success since the new team came on board and we reset our agenda in 2016.  

New management, new Board members, and regular support from donors, have seen Dharma Care experience remarkable growth. Over the last eight years, Dharma Care has raised over $1 million in donations, and increased its overall turnover (Sine Cera income + donations + grants) by 1,174%. 

Most important of all, as of twelve months ago, we have provided support to 41,016 of the most destitute and disadvantaged people in Australia and overseas, including 16,067 families. 

The Culprits

Who has been responsible for this success story? It really is the entire Dharma Care team – the management teams, both here in the Tweed and at Sine Cera, the DCI Board, and all our donors over the entire 40-year history of the charity.  

This support amounts to literally hundreds of people including over 368 donors, but it is worth calling out a few people who have been central to this process. 

So, thank you to those who have held Board positions since 2016.

Board Members from 2016 – 2024

(From left to right: Davin Shellshear (current Chair), Arif Matthee (current Treasurer), Asmaniah Fraval (current Secretary), Marcus Fraval, Amanah Rye (current Board Member), Maria Blake, Miyako Armytage, Rashidah McDonald, Irma McDonald (current Board Member).

The Dharma Care Team

From left to right: Richard Merton (Admin & Finance), Darren Sutton (Deputy CEO & Marketing), Sarah Davis (Marketing Co-ordinator), Tim Freeman (Sine Cera Manager), Greg Hotko (Sine Cera Assistant Manager)

The Sine Cera Team

As we approach the new financial year, we have set plans that will continue to expand the impact of Dharma Care in its role of providing support to the most desperate and destitute here in our local community and overseas.  If you would like to help, please make a tax-deductible donation to Dharma Care and join us on this journey.