Mom vows easier life for daughters
Dionne Brown could easily be a contender
for the Mother of the Decade award. She has not only been raising her two daughters, Britni and Kimberly, single-handedly, but also took matters into her own hands when, at the end of basic school, her younger daughter, Kimberly, was not reading.
"I just could not live with myself having a child who can't read," she said.
So, without extra lessons or any extra help, Brown made the decision to make her child literate.
"I bought cartridge paper
and I labelled everything in
the house," Brown told The Gleaner.
She even used the same method practised by teachers in the classroom where she moved from one syllable to multisyllabic words. Her method changed
over time, as she realised that Kimberly reacted differently to her being stern as opposed to when she was calm.
Brown is driven by her circumstances, being a single mother in Denham Town, Kingston, she is adamant that life will not be as hard for her daughters as it was for her. She tells them daily, "Education is the key to success."
Having grown up in a large household with five sisters, Brown said a lot of emphasis was not placed on education.
She went to the then Denham Town Secondary, and after she graduated, it was time to earn to contribute to the household.
She got pregnant with Britni at age 22, but the relationship with Britni's father didn't last long after her birth.
Two years later, Kimberly came into this world.
But it was dÈj‡ vu, as the relationship with this little one's father also went downhill and she decided to leave.
"I couldn't handle that relationship; it had too many babymothers," Brown said. With two children under five years old, Brown took on the world for her girls. She moved from job to job, trying to make ends meet. She recounted not being able to buy new clothes or do anything for herself, as all her resources were for her children.
Brown related a story of wanting to buy a refrigerator but using the money to send her Britni to Immaculate Conception High School in St Andrew.
"I work hard, throw the partner, get the partner draw, but had to make the decision to send her to school," Brown said. "I bought the fridge two years later."
Though she is proud of both daughters, Brown is particularly proud of Kimberly. Brown's plan for Kimberly hit a snag, however, when the little one did not do very well in her Grade Six Achievement Test. But Brown was hell-bent on having Kimberly pursuing secondary education.
"I walked days to get her in a junior high school; I wouldn't stop!" said Brown.
And that determination has borne fruit.
Kimberly, who is now 17 years old, passed her Grade Nine Achievement Test and has moved on to JosÈ MartÌ Technical High School, where she will sit eight Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, including biology, chemistry and physics.
"I expect the 'one' in maths because she is very good in math," Brown proudly said.
Britni, now 20, earned nine CSEC subjects and is currently a student at the University of Technology, pursuing a degree in accounting.