Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Violence-torn August Town to get a boost from community groups

Published:Monday | August 9, 2021 | 12:08 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
August Town, St Andrew residents during a recent march for peace.
August Town, St Andrew residents during a recent march for peace.

In an effort to foster change in the violence-torn August Town in St Andrew Central, some community-based groups have started initiatives to give back to the area.

The Peace Builders, African Gardens/Bedward Crescent Community Development Foundation has started an initiative whereby they have enlisted residents who have migrated to overseas from the area to pool resources to aid the residents.

Resource officer for the group, Garfield Thomas, said they have started projects that will assist the residents in a positive way.

“We have assisted an elderly person to repair her bathroom and kitchen, in addition to giving away 100 care packages during our Easter package drive. We have also donated tablets and laptops, and have established a food programme ,where $30,000 worth of food is given away each week to an indigent person,” Thomas told The Gleaner.

On Saturday, the group gave out back-to-school supplies to students in the African Garden Square. Some 300 school bags and other supplies were handed out.

Desmond Brown, president of the August Town Sports Foundation, was one of the fortunate ones who got the chance to leave for greener pastures.

Although being away for 30 years, he has always been in touch with the community, creating opportunities for the young people as well as the elderly.

Since his return, he has intensified his outreach, trying to make a positive impact on the youth through sports.

“We have put in place a netball programme for the young girls. We have planned excursions for those between the ages of 10 and 16 to resort attractions on the north coast. Our aim is to get them away from the trauma of the violence that is affecting the community,” Brown disclosed.

AIDING THE DISABLED

“We have also put in place a programme where we assist children who have lost their parents through violence, as well as give out care packages to the elderly.”

Brown said his group has now started an assistance programme in the form of care packages for some members of the community who have been permanently disabled by violence.

“We believe that getting involved in the life of the community in this way, will go a far way to help to prevent distractions,” Brown said.

A farming initiative organised by the African Gardens Farming Group aims to establish food security for the community by cultivating crops such as banana, yam, and vegetable to sell to the residents at a reduced rate.

“We have secured 13 acres of land that we have ploughed and started putting in suckers. It is our aim that our residents, instead of going to outside markets to get these food items, we will be able to deliver to them at a much cheaper rate,” said Robert Campbell, secretary of the farmers’ group.

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