GoodHeart | More than 60 children benefit from Sarah’s Children back-to-school initiative
There is no doubt that education is the key to breaking the cycle of generational poverty, but for many students in Jamaica returning to school, it has been difficult to source theessentials they need including, pencils, notebooks and backpacks. With that in mind, Sarah’s Children has provided several students with the tools needed to further their education, leading them on the path to a better future.
Sarah’s Children is an advocacy group formed with the objective of caring for and protecting children and the elderly, particularly, those who are disabled. Founder and Chairman of Sarah’s Children, Janet Silvera, is an award-winning Gleaner journalist and philanthropist. In addition to her many projects, Silvera founded Sarah’s Children, that was named in honour of her mother, Sarah Darling-Findlay.
Since its inception on March 8, 2018, Sarah’s Children has provided funding, housing, medication, food, scholarships, educational supplies and more to underprivileged children, students and seniors. It aims to create a lifelong impact on disadvantaged children, students, and senior citizens, providing much needed support to empower them to thrive and catalyse change in their communities.
Their recent back-to-school initiative, saw the organisation donating bags, books, and other school collateral to the Hartfield Basic School in Salt Spring, St James. Some 40 students benefited from this project, that was sponsored in full by RSD Shipping Agency Jamaica Limited.
Sonia Clarke Bowen, director at Sarah’s Children, said giving back to the community has given them a sense of purpose. “The fulfilling feeling of giving back and contributing to the community is unparalleled. Giving back for us is also a great way to get to know our community, its citizens and their needs. We believe that the real meaning in life never comes from what you get, it comes from what you give and the secret to living is giving,” Clarke Bowen said.
Another 25 students at the White House Early Childhood Institution in collaboration with the Canadian Company Foresters, also received donations of back-to-school items.
Yvonne Powell, chairman of the school board at the White House Early Childhood Institution, said it was really a nice occasion, and a joy to see how happy the children were, and the smiles on their faces.
“Whitehouse is predominantly a fishing community, that almost everyone is related. The school has come a long way from [when] Pastor Anthony Brown and his wife, Elaine, started teaching a reading class under a tree, to establishing a school, which is the only one in the community. This donation is the icing on the cake, and has demonstrated to this community that there are people that genuinely care about them,” Powell said.
For its next project Sarah’s Children will be undertaking the cost of construction items and provision of furniture for an elderly woman who resides in Mount Salem. The cost is estimated at half a million dollars. The elder lost her home to a fire and in collaboration with Rosh Marketing, they will also provide a refrigerator and bed for her. Overall, these projects are valued at $1.5 million.
According to Clarke Bowen, the response from the beneficiaries has motivated the organisation to continue it thrust to give back to the community. “They are usually elated. I recall during COVID-19, the smiles on the faces of the children and their parents which warmed our hearts and served as encouragement for us to want to do more,” Clarke Bowen said.
“We are even more motivated by the tears of joy shed by persons who have been burnt out and when we appeared to offer assistance how delighted they were. We have also assisted school drop-outs to go back to school taking on all expenses and the rewards have been great,” Clarke Bowen added.