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Children's Villages Jamaica sends out SOS

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

A Haitian woman waits with her child to collect supplies from a Jamaica and United Nations team in the quake-battered capital, Port-au-Prince. - Ian Allen/Photographer

SOS Children's Villages Jamaica is on a drive to solicit assistance for the children entrusted under the care of quake-affected SOS Children's Villages in Haiti, says national director of SOS Children's Villages Jamaica, Gregory Wint.

SOS Children's Villages Haiti, like SOS Children's Villages Jamaica, is a member of SOS International, the umbrella organisation for more than 130 countries, whose mandate is to provide a loving family environment for children in need of a family.

"Based on information received from our SOS colleagues in Haiti, one SOS child has died," Wint said. "We are, therefore, in mourning."

SOS Children's Villages in Haiti, which began in 1979, has over the years been providing a secure family environment for a significant number of orphans.

A magnitude-seven earthquake destroyed much of Haiti's urban infrastructure, particularly in Port-au-Prince, on January 12, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and about one million people displaced.

Indicating that children were particularly vulnerable during this period, Wint said the regional office has a team on the ground in Haiti managing an emergency relief effort for the children. There are two SOS Children's Villages in Haiti - one in Santo and the other in Cap Haitien.

Social intervention

The organisation has a target group of children who have lost parental care and those who are at risk of losing parental care. In addition to the villages in Haiti, the organisation has what is called a Family Strengthening programme, where it works closely with families of children who are at risk of losing parental care. These efforts include training of the families and other social intervention aimed at minimising the possibility of these children losing parental care.

SOS Children's Villages Jamaica is asking Jamaicans to make donations to the Haitian cause to Scotiabank account 600573, islandwide.

SOS Children's Villages operates two homes in Jamaica - one in Stony Hill, St Andrew, and the other in Barrett Town, Montego Bay.