Project Summary: National Children’s Home
Despite having access to much love from a dedicated staff of caregivers, much work needed to be done to improve the living spaces of the National Children’s Home to make it more comfortable for the boys and girls who reside there.
The J$500,000 joint venture project by the Digicel Foundation and the Inner Wheel Club of Kingston saw the upgrading and equipping the bathrooms, kitchen and living room of the Matalon Boys’ House in November 2006.
The library at the National Children’s Home also came in for renovations with Digicel staff donating needed books and other reading material to the home that houses approximately 130 children.
Digicel Foundation renovates National Children’s Home
Kingston, Jamaica – November 8, 2006
The place which is home to approximately 77 of Jamaica's youth, is an even more comfortable and cheerful environment as a result of recent refurbishing of the National Children's Home in Kingston . This J$500,000 joint venture project by the Digicel Foundation and the Inner Wheel Club of Kingston, was handed over during a special ceremony and Fun Day at the Home on Saturday November 4.
The project involved the upgrading and equipping of one of the Home's four dormitories, the Matalon Boys' House, including its bathrooms and kitchen/ living room.
The Home's library also came in for renovations. Additionally, the staff at Digicel's corporate office supported a book drive initiated by the Digicel Foundation to provide new and used books and other reading materials.
Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation noted, “This project was especially easy for us to undertake as it is truly an enhancement to the great care these youngsters are receiving from the staff. When a project aims to improve the quality of life and learning for a number of underprivileged children and in this case – also those with special needs, it is always fulfilling.”
The project was initiated by the ladies of the Inner Wheel Club in Kingston under the leadership of Immediate Past President Mrs. Nancy Bernard. Even a hamster and cage was thrown in for the enjoyment of the Matalon Boys.
Saturday's Fun Day was overflowing with exciting activities and treats for the youngsters, including a reading circle, bounce-a-bouts, dancing (to music provided by the Digi-Rig) face and body painting and cotton candy. Digicel Foundation also provided t-shirts for the children and staff.
An exciting culinary competition was also held between four male Executives from Digicel – Patrick “Paddy” King, Head of Consumer Sales; Rohan Pottinger, Chief Technical Officer; Donovan Betancourt, Facilities Manager and Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director, Digicel Foundation, in the refurbished kitchen. Paddy King was victorious at the end of the judging on criteria of taste, presentation, speed and creativity of the sandwiches prepared. However, the children were treated to all the delights of the team's labour of love.
General Neish added, “The smiles on their faces and their eagerness to own, enjoy and maintain their living areas was demonstrated that morning. The boys were awake with excitement at 3:00 a.m. getting their quarters ready for the day – that is dedication!”
The 31 children with disabilities at the Home attend the Carbury Court School , which has over 120 registered students, and is housed on the same premises. The project is expected to benefit not only those at the Home but also the school and the wider community. The other youngsters at the National Children's Home attend schools in the corporate area.
A special presentation was made to outstanding 6 th Form student Tamian Beckford of Meadowbrook High School by the Inner Wheel Club. This donation is to assist him with the purchase of a well-needed computer. He offered the vote of thanks on behalf of the Home.
The other dormitory houses at the Home are Tegwin, for the severely disabled, Lusan 1 and 2 for the girls; and Truman, for children with mild mental disabilities. The National Children's Home cares for children from age six, up to adults in their mid-thirties.
Digicel established Digicel Foundation in 2004, to support community-based and community-driven activities. Among projects implemented by the Foundation are: