Australian woman volunteers at Portland Rehabilitation Centre
Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
IT WAS her love and desire to offer assistance to the less fortunate that brought Australian national Rosanna Swarts to the shores of Jamaica.
Swarts, who is now a volunteer at the Portland Rehabilitation Centre, is passionate about helping the residents at the facility, whom she claims are in need of basic care and treatment, something that should be afforded to every human being irrespective of race, colour, class, and or political affiliation.
"It's a joy to extend that helping hand. Every situation is different, and many of these disadvantaged persons have been abandoned by family members, possess mental health issues, autism, or Down's Syndrome. I made the correct decision to come to Jamaica, where I will be spending six months with the residents at this facility," the 24-year-old told Rural Xpress.
Thirteen residents, comprising eight men and five women, are now housed at the Portland Rehabilitation Centre, which is able to accommodate 22. The centre provides warm meals to its residents three times per day, and offers baths, hair grooming, reading, and recreational sessions.
But while her expertise are directed at the rehab facility, Swarts has taken time out to assist with the day-to-day operation of a craft shop at the Port Antonio Craft Village, where a variety of beads, necklaces, bracelets, and other craft items are sold to provide much-needed income for the facility.
Swarts told Rural Xpress that the shelter now operates a craft shop at the craft village, where the profit goes directly towards assisting the residents. The rental of the craft shop is subsidised by a grant from the British High Commission.
"Residents at the centre assist with the making of some of the craft items, and I believe it provides them with a feeling of worth. They can be seen busily engaged in the stringing of beads and sewing of craft items. The profit is used to buy rice, flour, sugar, soap and toiletries to be used by residents at the facility. It also goes towards the payment of utility bills."