Wed | Jul 24, 2019

It was a delightful treat for children with disabilities

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Mark White (left) and Robert White (right), managing director of Sanmerna Foundation, help Santa hand out gifts to the children. The occasion was a Christmas treat for children with disabilities, hosted by the Sanmerna Foundation in partnership with the Be the Change Foundation/Jamaica Urban Transit Company at the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre in St Andrew yesterday.

More than 130 children with disabilities from the Corporate Area sang, danced, and feted to their hearts' delight at a Christmas treat arranged by the Sanmerna Foundation in partnership with the Be the Change Foundation/Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre in St Andrew yesterday.

Children from the Danny Williams School for the Deaf, Genesis Academy, the Hope Experimental Abilities Foundation, The Salvation Army School for the Blind, the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, and the Early Stimulation School took part in the second annual event.

Robert White, managing director at Sanmerna, said that the treat is a sure way of bringing his company closer to the community.




"The same way we want the public to buy our products, it's in the same vein that we want to give back to society," he told The Gleaner. "Sanmerna Foundation sees this as part of our mandate. The human capital of our nation is our most valuable asset. We believe in investing in our children, who are our greatest asset."

The foundation's theme, 'Nation Building through Extending Helping Hands', has been tested and proven over time with a number of grass-roots initiatives.

"We just love putting smiles on the faces of these children. As a responsible Jamaican company, it was a necessity, and I just want to make known our commitment to keep having this treat each Yuletide season to celebrate with our children," said White.

The children were also treated with gifts and a delectable feast of great music from the Pembroke Hall High School Band and the popular Candy Isaacs.




Be The Change Foundation conceptualisers Anita Atkinson-Deans and Stephanie Josephs, both JUTC employees, said that it is a project that continues to bear great rewards.

"Just that look on the children's faces - those smiles - seeing them enjoying themselves is enough of a reward for this foundation. We are happy to be in a position where we can bring some amount of joy to our children with disabilities," said Atkinson-Deans.

Paul Abrahams, JUTC general manager, hailed the efforts of his staff. He also noted that the JUTC was looking at ways to improve the service it offers to the disabled.

"The JUTC is working closely with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency in trying to boost the current service to the disabilities community," he said.