11 orphanages ‘adopted’ through First Lady’s initiative
Eleven orphanages will begin receiving significant financial and other support from corporate sponsors through the ‘Adopt-an-Orphanage’ Initiative, which was introduced by First Lady Arya Ali last year.
At a ceremony on Thursday at the Hope Children’s Home in Enmore, the orphanages signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with their respective sponsors for a duration of six to 12 months.
Having recognised the difficulties orphanages were facing due to financial constraints, Mrs. Ali introduced the initiative with the intention of ensuring support for the homes was sustainable. Eight orphanages were sponsored last year, with three more being added this year.
The eleven orphanages are: Joshua House Children Centre, Bless the Children’s Home, Ruimveldt Children’s Home, St. John Basco Orphanage, Shaheed’s Boys Orphanage, Shaheed’s Girl’s Orphanage, St. Ann’s Orphanage, Prabhu Sharan Orphanage, Hope Children’s Home, Red Cross Convalescent Children’s Home and Canaan Children’s Home.
The sponsors are: The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Guyana Shore Base Inc., Demerara Bank, Go Logistics, China Trading, Premier Construction, Optiek Ninon, Vitality Inc., Junior Sammy Guyana, Optique Vision Care and Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital.
According to the First Lady, this new phase of the project will include visitation to the homes for sponsors and volunteers to spend one-on-one time with the children; the provision of medical care including eye testing and dental services; counseling and tutoring services; and social activities including picnics.
With support from the Ministry of Human Services, Mrs Ali said that she will also begin examining “a robust transition plan” for teenagers in those homes who are making that step into adulthood.
“A comprehensive approach at ensuring their seamless integration into society is critically important. And my office will also begin engaging entities to create employment opportunities for them,” she said.
During her speech, Mrs. Ali highlighted too that orphanages exist to create a positive environment in which children feel cared for, their personal needs are adequately met, and their social and professional development are nurtured.
With this is mind, she said that it is therefore important to ensure that these homes are provided with as much support that they require.
“This initiative also provides us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our role in helping to create a better Guyana for our children,” she told the sponsors and other attendees.
Echoing similar sentiments was Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Guyana, Her Excellency Guo Haiyan, whose government is sponsoring three of the homes.
Ambassador Haiyan underscored the need for children to live in an environment where they are happy, feel safe, and are healthy. She said that like Guyana, China places great importance on children and their development.
“So I am happy today to be part of this project to benefit the children,” she said, adding that she hopes this opportunity will lead to the strengthening of the relationship between Guyana and China.
Remarks were also delivered by Ms Saleema Haniff, who is the founder of Aspire – a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) which works with orphanages across the country – and journalist and media personality, Leroy Smith, who spent eight years of his childhood at the Alpha Children’s Home.
Both individuals lauded the First Lady for her intervention, highlighting too that her advocacy can lead to the transformational changes that are needed at some of the homes.
At the end of the ceremony, tokens of appreciation were presented to the sponsors by the First Lady. (Office of the First Lady Press Release)