103 homes constructed by FFTP in Berbice for 2018

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Seeranie Rupert and her children shares a moment

– Plans in train to construct 500 in 2019

THE dawn of a new year is usually a time for reflection, aspirations and renewed hope for a better year than the past.

Many set resolutions that centre on their wants and needs; some may want a new car, expand their home, lose some weight or save more money while others need shelter, food or clothing.  Whatever those wants and need are everyone still has something to be thankful for, be it life, family, friends or some achievement.

For 103 families in Region Six, they are full of praises to Food for the Poor Guyana Inc. (FFTP) and St. Francis Community Developers (SFCD) for granting their wish of having a place to call their own in 2018.

FFTP through collaboration with the SFCD has built and furnished 103 houses in the year 2018 for 103 families in East Berbice that have been through untold hardship and could not, in any way, be able to build or furnish a house for themselves due to their circumstances.

For Seeranie Rupert, 38, a widow of seven years and a mother of six who works night shift as a security guard to make ends meet, being able to move into her spanking new home at Block 5 Ankerville, Port Mourant, East Berbice Corentyne before the new year means she can now strike one thing off her list and focus on the others.

She told the Guyana Chronicle she has moved from over 16 different places that she was allowed to stay and take care of until she walked into the doors of SFCD and explained her situation to the staff there.

“Since my husband died we move all over, people let us stay and take care of the place but it is always something to worry about because is not you place and like me fed up to move and you got to change school for them children and suh.  So me went in an explain my situation to
Mr. Foster them and them help we out because me can’t afford wan home like this and take care of me family. Me so happy me nah know how fuh thank them,” she said.

The other 102 families have similar heart wrenching stories, be it a fire or some other calamity that claimed the life of the breadwinner or changed their circumstances these families are forever grateful and have now approached life with renewed faith in humanity and are eager to lend a helping hand to others.

Among the beneficiaries are re-migrants and their families from Venezuela who could not bear the hardship anymore. Samuel and Heamwattie Gomez are eagerly counting down the days before they move into their home in Friendship village, East Berbice, Corentyne with her two grandchildren and four of their six children.

Heamwaattie had migrated to Venezuela twenty years ago in the hope of a better life which turned ugly and she was forced to re-migrate to her homeland.

“About two years ago things got bad and I lose my business and then everything start to collapse, we stayed and try to bear up hoping things would get better but the country keep getting worse, food start becoming scarce and the prices go up. Imaging you working whole day and you pay can’t even buy one meal” she told this publication.

She said they managed to survive by limiting the number of meals daily to one or a maximum of two. Breakfast was removed completely and lunch was pushed back as late as possible. This was done to ensure the children still could attend school to get an education. “When things did not change we had to move out because it hard to watch everyone especially your children lose weight in front your eyes because of starvation.”

Their home is currently under construction and is expected to be completed around the 1st week in 2019.

In addition to receiving a house the 103 recipients received household appliances including stove, beds, solar panels for electricity supply and some groceries.

At a recent handing over ceremony President of SFCD, Alex Foster said the goal with FFP by the end of 2019 is to complete 500 houses. He noted that apart from the houses and items given to the recipients they are being coached on how to make their lives better one step at a time. SFCD follows up with the families throughout the year and provide assistance as needed to each family to help them take the next step. Most persons after six months seek to expand the houses to accommodate their families.

Each family is interviewed and investigated by SFCD before their house is built and after the handing over FFTP would visit at various times to ensure care is being taken and to meet whatever needs the family may have.
Special emphasis is placed on the children to make sure they are attending school and any that are differently-abled are given special attention to receive equal access to education.

Further families with special skills are given the tools to help start a business of their own so that they can earn and take care of their families independently.