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GHS head issues challenge to HOH

GHS head issues challenge to HOH

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Headmistress of the Girls’ High School Andrea Bowman has issued a challenge to the House of Hope Society.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Society on Saturday, November 8th at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, Bowman questioned the effectiveness of the organization in its public outreach.{{more}}

“The mission of the House of Hope Society is too critical to be whispered,” she said, as she spoke on the theme “Building up a network of caring hands and hearts”. Bowman questioned why is there still so much ignorance and fear in our small society in relation to HIV and Aids. “The founding fathers of this organization know how to preach, they know how to evangelize. Why isn’t the child of their hearts at the forefront of educating… our tiny population?”

Bowman said that the composition of the Board of Directors of the organization was such that it should be relatively easy to get people to listen. “Your calibre is such that you can easily co-opt professionals and appropriate field workers to join in a sensitization crusade. The sourcing of funds for such a crusade should not be that hard to access. Church personnel are well-known for their fund-raising acumen. So, our tiny population needs to hear the voice of the House of Hope speaking through as many tongues as possible and from the same hymn sheet. Get into our schools, primary and secondary, into the colleges and bodies of tertiary learning. Take the information there…. I do not hear or see the House of Hope reaching out to foster caring hearts and such an outreach must take place because the price of inertia is already evident,” she stated.

The educator warned the organization against operating like a “secret society”. “Once consistent public information is not a feature of your operation, an aura of secrecy will surround your operations,” she said. Bowman acknowledged the need to handle issues relating to HIV and Aids with sensitivity, but reminded the nine-year-old organization that ignorance breeds in darkness. “There is no substitute for well disseminated information , sensitively packaged and appropriately targeted”.

Archdeacon Dr. Sylvanus Regisford however, said he gets “angry” when he hears people say that the House of Hope Society is not doing anything. Delivering the President’s report, Dr Regisford said that the organization has been busy trying to build up a network of helping hands, a process he said, which takes time. He said the House of Hope Society has been in the forefront of the Wellness Revolution and HIV education in this country.

He however admitted that since the organization’s launch in 1999, he has been struggling with the “articulation and implementation” of the organization’s ecumenical policy which is enshrined in its constitution. “I want to appeal to our Churches, those inside the Christian Council and those outside to help us to reflect our constitutional constraints and to join us in our expressed desire to serve all our people in Jesus’ Name without consideration of colour, class or creed.”

Rev. Regisford also appealed for volunteers to come forward: “Today for me, tomorrow for you. If we are to provide help to the primary caregivers in times of sickness, we are going to need volunteers coming from the churches, and the community groups. A small skeleton staff cannot do it alone,” he said.

Chief Operating Office Anita Nanton in her report, said that during the past year, the organization had been involved in education awareness programmes in several schools and with community groups. She also informed that in April 2008, the House of Hope transferred its operations to its new headquarters at Stoney Ground. It is from this location that hospice services will be delivered to those in need. Nanton also appealed for volunteers to come forward to assist. Treasurer of the Society Rev. Alric Skerritt also delivered the Treasurer’s report.

Elections were held during which Rev. Regisford was re-elected President. He will be supported by 1st Vice President Clare Keizer, 2nd Vice President Pastor Wade Carter, Treasurer Reverend Alric Skerritt and Secretary Irrith O’Garro, who were all elected unopposed.

The meeting was chaired by Monty Maule who commended the organization on the efficient manner in which it conducted its business.