Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Embracing Orphans rebuilds families

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2020 | 12:07 AM
Carl Robanske, executive director of Embracing Orphans, elbow bumps Simone Gordon while they stand in front of her recently built house in Tower Hill, St James.
Carl Robanske, executive director of Embracing Orphans, elbow bumps Simone Gordon while they stand in front of her recently built house in Tower Hill, St James.

Carl Robanske, executive director of Embracing Orphans, an overseas-based non-profit organisation, is excited about their partnership with Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) and Jamaica Relief Ministries that has resulted in some 20 homes being built for families in western Jamaica.

The initiative is part of the CPFSA’s family reintegration programme, a strategy developed to keep children in families. These children are under the supervision of the State because of deplorable living conditions.

“This is an initiative that was already in existence with Jamaica Relief Ministries, through a partnership with CPFSA and their family reintegration programme. One of the things that we wanted to do as Embracing Orphans is to booster the programme, and so far, we have nearly doubled the numbers of what’s been able to be built. We have also been able to remarket it (rebuild programme) to churches in the States,” Robanske said.

“These children might be in foster or state care because simply, the family doesn’t have the housing to take care of them. We believe that a healthy family is an ideal place for children to be raised. This is one of the best projects that Embracing Orphans is a part of, we call this programme ‘Rebuild’; build a home, rebuild a family,” he added.

Robanske, who is proud of the initiative and the recent partnerships, is also urging other charity organisations and businesses to assist.

“I’m incredibly proud. We recently finished the 20th home, which gives me great joy to know that 20 more families are back together. I am also most proud of the church and families that have partnered with us to provide the funds for this,” Robanske said.

“I also have a charge for other charitable organisations and businesses that have an interest in families being rebuilt, to partner. There is certainly a large need throughout western Jamaica. We have been building in Westmoreland, St James, Trelawny and mostly in Hanover. What it is going to take is a couple more partners and dollars in order for more families to be together. It is certainly worth the dollar amount to have children in families rather than children’s homes,” he added.

Excited Mother

A mother of three, Simone Gordon, who recently benefited from the programme, was bursting with excitement when The Gleaner visited her residence in Tower Hill, St James.

“It’s just an overwhelming feeling to know that there is somewhere for me and my kids. It’s a great help, and much joy. Carl and his group are my angels on earth, enuh. Only angels could do something like this for us,” Gordon said.

“My foster child is my nephew’s child. He was brought to me by my nephew at six weeks old, and then my nephew passed away when he was just one year old, so, eventually, I had to do my best. I never had kids at the time, but, eventually, he brought the luck of the kids come give me, and now I have two of my own,” she added

Elvis Farquharson, Hanover’s team leader for the CPFSA, expressed their gratitude for the initiative that has built eight homes for families in the parish since December.

“We have seen children that were in facilities reunited with their parents because of this venture that our sponsors have taken on. For us at the CPFSA, as much as we try to assist these families, we could not have done so much for them. Without the sponsors, it would have taken maybe a year or two, but with them it took months,” Farquharson said.

“We are thankful to Embracing Orphans and the Jamaica Relief Ministries. I would encourage other organisations who can come on board to do so, because the life of one child is as important as 10,000 children. If together we can impact one child, it makes a difference,” he added.