$400,000 Project Set To Begin In April
HELP is on the way for abused children in the south of the island.
That’s according to Beverlyn John, chairperson of the Children’s Society of Vieux-Fort, which will construct a children’s home in the town. She said work on the facility is expected to commence next month.
According to John, a social worker and counsellor at the St. Jude Hospital, the facility which will accommodate nine children will cost approximately $400,000, adding that approximately $200,000, will be required yearly to pay staff.
The home will be built on a portion of land at Aupicon in Vieux-Fort, which was donated to the society by government.
John said a number of people in the south of the island have recognized the need for a children’s home in Vieux-Fort, which has resulted in some of them banding together to pursue an aggressive drive to raise funds for its construction. She said funding for the project will come from the proceeds of a fund-raising drive and from the Jermaine Defoe Foundation.
Defoe is an international footballer of St. Lucian heritage, living in England’. The foundation has also contributed to charitable organizations in the U.K.
“There is an urgent need to protect and care for those abused children in the south. Right now there is no place for them to go for protection,” John lamented.
She added that the few children’s homes on the island were inadequate to deal with the serious problem of child abuse.
John, who has also worked with the Division of Human Services in the past said the problem existed among all strata of the society. “It’s a general issue. Child abuse exists among both the rich and poor…” she said.
John noted that situations where adults allowed their children to seek assistance from adults, financial or otherwise, can result in these children being abused, adding that some parents were aware of its consequences.
“We need to be more concerned and stop this practice,” she said.
According to her, the society’s major problem is a lack of funding. She however added that the public has been supportive of its drive to raise funds. John said despite their financial constraints, the society has also been assisting the Vieux-Fort Primary School and the Belle Vue Primary School with their school feeding programmes.
By Kingsley Emmanuel