Canadian Organisation joins Rotary Guyana to help Cheshire Home


THE Guyana Burn and Healthcare Charitable Foundation Inc, on Thursday last, handed over to Ms Joan Rodrigues, Chairperson of the Management Committee of the Cheshire Home, a mobility bus for disabled persons. Twenty-four persons with multiple disabilities currently live in the Cheshire Home and hitherto their mobility was severely curtailed.  According to Ms Rodrigues, in 2008, the management committee became concerned that the second bus that the home has had for over ten years needed to be replaced because it did not quite suit current needs.  There was an imperative need for a bus fitted with a hydraulic lift to facilitate wheelchairs.
Nurse-aides do not only provide care to the residents of the Cheshire Home, but also dispense love in great measure to their charges.  In picture above a special moment of bonding between caregiver Barbara Thompson Sauers and charge Shanazz.  Barbara, who has served the institution for 16 years, says that hers is not merely a job, but  a labour of love.
The Management committee of the home began to organise fundraisers to attempt to generate enough money to purchase such a bus.  In 2008, long-standing member Mr. Yesu Persaud celebrated his birthday and asked for monetary donations toward the fund instead of birthday gifts.  In March, 2009, the Bank of Nova Scotia also made a
contribution, but the target still seemed unreachable, until June, 2009, when Mr. Pradeep Samtani, newly-appointed President of the Rotary Club of Georgetown, offered assistance to the home.
Mr. Samtani made contact with his brother-in-law, resident in Canada, Mr. Harry Harakh, who is the Chairperson of the Guyana Burn and Healthcare Charitable Foundation Inc.  The gentleman in turn spoke to committee members, which included his wife and Samtani’s sister, Pamela, and Canadian Nurse Julie Fisher, who says that she is a Guyanese by over 30 years association.  Samtani said that he had scoured the world for an appropriate bus but that it was Julie Fisher’s husband, Gabour, who sourced one.
The Canadian Foundation paid the purchase price and then events were set in place for its delivery to Guyana.
Mr. Samtani and sister, Canadian resident Pamela Harakh, with the elevator that will lift the wheelchairs into the bus.
Ms. Rodriques said that those who helped were many, and they include John Fernandes Shipping, DD signs, Ainlim and Nafico/Nalico – the latter for free insurance coverage for the bus.
The Cheshire Home was established in 1972 by SIMAP to provide a residence for persons with profound disabilities who had nowhere else to live.  The ages of the residents range from 16 to 42, and a therapist provides physiotherapy to them and to people in the surrounding communities.
The facility was rebuilt by the Government in 2003 and again expanded in 2005.  Another phase of refurbishment planned by the Ministry of Health will remove the old structure completely and replace it with a new facility.

The Guyana Burn and Healthcare Charitable Foundation Inc commenced visits to Guyana in 1998; and in 2000; the organization signed an MOU with the GPHC to build and equip a functional burn care unit.  This was merely one of many in a long line of initiatives programmed to assist Guyana’s health sector, among which was the acquisition of the special needs bus that was donated to the Cheshire Home Thursday.