Do-gooders have a bee in their Bonnett
Published: Wednesday | September 2, 2009
Expansion is under way on the kitchen at Bonnett Primary School. It is one of several projects undertaken by charitable residents. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Dirt floor, rusty zinc and rotten boards were the components of the structure that Juliet Dunn and her four children once called home.
The members of the family lived a distressing life, she said, as when it rained, it poured heavily in the shanty dwelling, forcing them to cower in a small area.
"I was disheartened as I didn't have any money to make things better," the 45-year-old mother from Bonnett, St Catherine, told The Gleaner.
The dilapidated structure, which resembled one that had been battered by many storms, wasn't even large enough to accommodate the entire family.
But some good Samaritans were just in time to answer Dunn's SOS. Earlier this year, the Bonnett Sunshine Youth Club had given her a cosy resting place.
Dunn remarked that she was elated at thegroup's philanthropy.
"I am happy because my children and I didn't have a good home, but God answers prayers," stated the mother, who farms to support her children.
That is only one of several projects the club has been undertaking since its inception in 1991.
The group, consisting of 80 persons, has over the years raised funds to spearhead a number of projects such as the cleaning of drains in the community, extension of the kitchen at the primary school in the area and restoration of signs. Each year the club also plans various Labour Day projects.
The needs of students living in the community are also addressed.
"There is a welfare programme of which 20 students up to secondary level are sponsored with lunch money two days to attend school and we also pay the school fee for a child who attends Bonnett Basic School," said Kayann Marshall, secretary of the club.
This amounts to a total of $10,000 per month which they garner from sponsorship and dues of $20 each.
"Bonnett is a poor community and the people are not getting the help that they need, so the club has been taking up the challenge for some time now," she added.
So far, she said, they have been successful in implementing projects but funding woes are crippling their efforts.
The club has also started a project to construct a house for an elderly couple and their three grandchildren. The couple's house was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
"I decided to join the club because there is not much going on in the community to uplift the spirit of the people," said Marshall.
The club, through sponsorship and fund-raisers, built a multi-purpose sports court to serve the community's youth.
"In everything we do, we work in unity as a group and that's the main reason for our many accomplishments," said Maureen Small, first vice-president of the club. "In order to constantly reap success, we will continue to work hard and show respect to each other."
Juliet Dunn and her children stand with Sunshine Youth Club members in front of the new home recently built for them.
Youngsters enjoying the sports facility constructed by the Sunshine Youth Club in Bonnett, St Catherine. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
This is the shack where Juliet Dunn and her four children once called home.