A group of volunteers in Grand Cayman have rallied to support a group of homeless children suffering from HIV/AIDS in Jamaica who lost their home to a fire in March.
Cayman Islands resident Fiona Pimentel has reported that a container full of needed items including clothes, toys, bedding, furniture and food is set to depart for Jamaica after a two-week fundraising drive brought an outpouring of generosity from the public on Grand Cayman.
‘There are so many people who helped in different ways, some of them we don’t even know about. It would be impossible to acknowledge them all,’ said Mrs. Pimentel, who threw open the doors of her house to accept donations.
But, she added: ‘I would especially like to thank I AM CO for the shipping of the container, the staff of Appleby and RBS Coutts, Cayman Prep School and its PTA, St. Ignatius Prep and High School, Bronwen Micka, ‘Miss Jackie’ Balls and Beth, Janis Bacac, Tara Nielson and Cayman’s Ark, Jerry Mendez and many other generous individuals.’
Thirty children suffering from HIV/AIDS lost their home after the blaze ripped through Martha’s House, a Mustard Seed Community Home in Kingston on 16 March, causing extensive damage.
Only one child was seriously injured in the blaze, which was started by an electrical short circuit, but neither the building nor its contents were insured.
The children have been temporarily relocated to two other Mustard Seed homes, but with only limited space, it has become a squeeze for the children, the organisation has said.
Mustard Seed Communities founder father Gregory Ramkissoon told Jamaica’s Sunday Observer last week that Ja$7 million out of the $19 million needed to rebuild the home has so far been raised. Scores of volunteers have also descended on the Kingston-based children’s home to help with the clean up, the paper reported.
In a letter from Mustard Seed to the people of the Cayman Islands, Mr. Ramkisoon said, ‘Thank you all very much for your concern and your kind effort. We feel encouraged to know that we have the support from persons like you. We continue to be grateful that no lives were lost.’
He went on to say that the children are receiving counselling and being assured that they will not be abandoned for a second time.
Mustard Seed Communities commenced over 20 years ago as a home for abandoned and handicapped children. It has diversified its activities over the years and now runs housing projects, community projects, economic projects and a home for pregnant teenagers.
However its core purpose remains caring for abandoned and handicapped children, and, to this end, now cares for more than 220 children across Jamaica, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The organisation is currently constructing a home for AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe.
For more information call Fiona Pimentel on 323-9111 or visit www.mustardseed.com