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Mother of five works wonders with PATH

Published:Tuesday | April 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

Petula Lindsay* is no ordinary mother, and with five children to care for, this creative woman has used the contribution from the Programme for the Advancement Though Health and Education (PATH) to work wonders. But at the same time, she toils relentlessly to meet her family's basic needs.

This devoted mother says she is grateful for the 15 per cent increase to be granted in August.

"It would make a big difference ... . When I get it (in August), I use it for back to school," Lindsay told The Gleaner.

"It does stop a gap," she explains, adding that she gets the allocation every two months. "By the time it comes, the money has to be used to pay bills."

A minimum-wage earner who is searching for a steady job with a better income, Lindsay exudes confidence, even though she faces challenges that appear insurmountable.

Asked if she would bat for a greater-than-15 per cent increase, Lindsay laughed, before expressing cautious optimism that it might become a reality. However, she is not building her hopes on a larger increase, acknowledging that PATH is not "something that you work for, therefore, you just have to work with what you get. I am very grateful".

Lindsay says her children get a total of $10,000 every two months from PATH. However, broken down, this equates to $1,000 per child each month. A further breakdown shows that each child gets approximately $32.26 cents per day.

Heartbreaking at times

On the question of how her family survives on PATH benefits and a part-time job that pays minimum wage, Lindsay says she was hoping she did not have to answer this query. "People always ask me this question, and honestly I can't answer it. When you kneel down to pray, ask God how she does it because honestly I don't know."

"Sometimes it is really heartbreaking, but at the end of the day God helps me to find a way and God inspires somebody to come and stretch a hand to assist that won't tell anybody."

Lindsay says she gets acquainted with her children's teachers and asked them to bear with her as she is unable to get them all the books they need at the same time. "Sometimes, I have to buy one book this month and the next three weeks before I can buy another one."

The imaginative mother says she uses rubber and liquid paper (white out) to re-craft textbooks so that her son, who is in grade five, can have textbooks to work with. "You know some teachers would fuss, they want the new version. I have a teacher who works with me. I can rub out, cut and paste, I use three old books to create one and she will work with my son with that."

Lindsay says her hard work seems to be paying off, as her children are working hard and doing well in school.

What about the children's father? Lindsay says her husband, who was the main breadwinner for the family, went through three years of illness and had to do major surgery which now prevents him from carrying out his previous tasks.

"Sometimes you can see the frustration on him when he cannot adequately provide for his kids. When I am on the road, he is the one who takes care of the kids, with the laundry, send them off to school," she explains.

Name changed as requested by interviewee.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com