Lack of funds forces Children First shutdown

Published: Tuesday | January 8, 2013 Comments 0
Claudette Richards-Pious - File
Claudette Richards-Pious - File

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

The new Easter term did not start well for some 140 students enrolled in a remedial programme at voluntary organisation, Children First.

Failing to cover its operational expenses during the last school term, the Spanish Town, St Catherine-based organisations has been forced to shut down its operation, leaving several children from in and around the community out in the cold.

During the festive season, executive director for the organisation, Claudette Richards-Pious had called for Jamaicans to donate whatever cash they could to help the organisation keep its doors open, but got little response.

"We got $5,000 and that was it," she told The Gleaner yesterday.

Yesterday Richards-Pious said as a result of the organisation's inability to pay its staff members, they have moved on to greener pastures and Children First is faced with an uncertain future.

"We are trying right now to see if we can get some volunteer teachers. Right now we're battling; we lost two social workers who were doubling as teachers; one teacher went back to school and another resigned," she lamented.

"I really don't know, we're calling everywhere to see where we can find volunteer teachers, I don't know what we're going to do."

Last month Richards-Pious said part of what had contributed to the current crisis was the fact that international donors who once funded the project have moved on.

She said she was concerned that the closure of the school could spell trouble for the children and the already volatile communities of Spanish Town with so many of them having no employable skills and too much idle time on their hands.

Children First, a non-governmental agency, opened its doors in Jamaica in 1997 and has been providing basic skills training, remedial education, counselling and career guidance to children ever since.

nedburn.thaffe@gleanerjm.com

Persons wanting to assist can contact Children First at: Email: kidzter@gmail.com or telephone 984-0367 or 984-2839.

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