Anna Brown-Gayle - passionate about the welfare of children
Anna Brown-Gayle is a lover of children. She has a soft spot for those young ones who are dependent on others to care for them in a way only a person who is as loving and caring can understand.
"I love children. That love for children came about when I was still a child because I had to take care of my two younger sisters while our parents went to work, and that's how I developed this love and care for them," she said.
Brown-Gayle currently has five children living with her whom she fosters. "Two of the girls - one 15 and the other 11 - lost their father tragically and their mother is abroad, so I opted to take them in and care for them because I wouldn't want them to be left on their own and I have been looking after them for the past three years."
"The other 15-year-old lost her father last year and she has never lived with her mother and because I want her to go to school and be properly cared for, I took her into my fold," she explained to Family and Religion.
The 12-year-old is one of Brown-Gayle's god-children. He is now a first former who was deemed to be under-performing at the primary level, so she took him out of the home situation he was in (his mother has several other children) and decided to provide for him.
"I realised he needed more attention than all the others, and so I got him into an institution that catered to his learning and he was successful in his GSAT exams. I think I should still be guiding him into his secondary education so he is still here with me," she explained.
The youngest of the lot is the nine-year old-who has been with her since his father lost his job three years ago.
"We live as a family even though they have their different parents and they are cultured differently. They all get scolded when needs be and we bond together as a family. This love I have for children builds something inside of me and so it puzzles me how a person could hurt a child who is so vulnerable. I am passionate about children, my heart bleeds whenever I see children on the road not being properly cared for and not going to school," said the educator extraordinaire.
Brown-Gayle has been teaching for 30 years and has been a principal for 20. She is currently the principal of the Church of Prophesy Basic School in May Pen, Clarendon.
CARING FOR DOZENS
Over the years, she has fostered about 30 children, some of whom went on to college and are now on their own and the others went abroad.
"Even my neighbour's children I look after: they are at my house every Saturday," she added.
"It's just the love: children have a right to be loved and cared for, they have a right to protection, to comfort and to be educated. Maybe because I don't have any of my own why I love children so much," she declared.
"If you are in a position to take care of or assist in caring for a child, please do so. I know it can be challenging at times, but it will be rewarding to see the outcome. That will be one less teenage pregnancy and one less criminal off the road," encouraged Brown-Gayle.
"To the parents who are having a lot of children and think it's the government's responsibility to take care of them, you should have enough that you can adequately take care of, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically," she warned.