Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Grandmother grateful for support for her boys

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2017 | 3:00 AMShanique Samuels
Co-owner Leobrium Fashions Fitzroy Edwards, Ludean Miller, grandmother Gennivine Birth and second Co-owner Leobrium Fashions Navards Richards.

Living in a less than desirable situation and not being able to continue to adequately care for her grandchildren, Genniviene Birth has sought help externally in a genuine effort to keep her two grandsons together - living with her under the same roof.

Ms Birth has been the caregiver for both children since they were babies; the first and elder child was given to her by his mother (her daughter) at one month old and the other at six weeks old, to his aunt and then again at two years old to his grandmother who has cared for him until now. However, since she lost her job just over a year ago, and with no pension she has fallen on hard times and is no longer able to care for the two boys whom she professes to love unconditionally.

 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

"It's really hard on me alone with both of them, especially because neither of their parents are helping to taking care of them. But I don't want them to go to a children's home because maybe they would split them up," she told Family and Religion.

Just recently, the plight of the grandmother hoping to make a difference in the lives of her grandchildren was brought to the attention of fashion designers, Navardo Richards and his brother and business partner, Fitzroy Edwards. They have decided to take on the responsibilities of the younger of the two children - Ludean Miller.

When they met recently, both Richards and Edwards were struck by the fact that Ludean goes to school hungry and dirty in a suit of khaki that is worn and torn. They also found out that as a result of the current home situation, Ludean is unable to focus at school when he does attend - which is not very regularly. Ludean says his peers tease him and sometimes it makes him feel bad about himself.

 

RIGHT DIRECTION

 

As a result, they decided to assist by providing guidance and mentorship for the nine-year-old boy because as a child growing up in the troubled Effortville community, if he is not steered in the right direction, they fear he will end up becoming a delinquent or some other crime statistic by the time he reaches 15 years old.

"Leobrium Styles have decided to sponsor Ludean, because we see the genuine need for assistance. We will offer financial aid and, more important, counselling and mentorship," shared Richards.

Leobrium is the name of the fashion business based in May Pen owned and operated by both Edwards and Richards and has been in business for over 10 years. They make branded clothing from a cap to the shoes for both genders. "We do walk in, door-to-door service and mass production items."

Richards says he has been in fashion designing for over 15 years.

Ms Birth says she registered the children with the government welfare programme, PATH, last year, but she is yet to begin receiving payments. "Mi no have it fi give them, but I don't want them to go to hungry" she said, as her voice grew shaky and her eyes welled up with tears.

"They are not troublesome children, but it bothers me deeply when I realise most times that I have nothing to feed them. Now I am happy and grateful for the male figure who decided to take on the role and mentor them."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com