Sun | Dec 10, 2023

Wards at Jamaica National Children’s Home get books for Christmas

Published:Friday | December 27, 2019 | 12:35 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Just over 100 new and lightly used, age-appropriate books were handed over to the Jamaica National Children’s Home (JNCH) in Papine, St Andrew, on Christmas Eve.

Paul Lalor, president of the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI), the donor, said that books provide an opportunity for children to transport themselves to another place, to learn, and to develop their minds.

Lalor, who has also been the chairman of the Jamaica Library Service for more than 15 years, said they are working to expand their reach.

“For kids here who have [had] a difficult start, we want them to have that opportunity, and the Library Service, hopefully, will help us to continue as it’s something we can do in far greater detail,” Lalor said.

Samantha Samuda, ICWI vice-president of marketing, distribution, and human resources, said that it was fitting for books to be donated as the nation strives to educate its youth.

“We will continue to collect more books from our staff and some of our customers. We will continue to build on their library, and, hopefully, soon, when the home reopens, we will be able to have a nice opening for the home, inclusive of the library,” Samuda said.

The 46-year-old children’s home suffered a fire in August that damaged the upper floor of the two-storey building. Almost 40 children who were housed there were relocated to the Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill, St Andrew.

JNCH Director Nadeen Waugh explained that the library was indirectly affected by the fire as it damaged the electrical connections.

“It’s not functioning now because the children are not here. That’s something we hope to start after rebuilding, but we can do something in the meantime for the students at Stony Hill by providing books so they can improve their reading and their imagination.”

She is grateful that the books came in time for Christmas and that ICWI continues to partner with them, having made donations when the library was first opened.

“Each time that corporate Jamaica comes to give to Jamaica National Children’s Home, it renews our hope that Jamaicans, at large, remember us. We depend on donors for the day-to-day things that we need to take care of the children, and each time a donor comes, it renews our hope,” Waugh said.