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Helping Hands Centre appeals to public for support


At the Helping Hands Centre (HHC), donations are not easy to come by. Therefore, it was no surprise that the staff and board members were ecstatic to receive three donations at a presentation ceremony, at the centre, on Tuesday.{{more}}

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Audley (UK), HHC Secretary Kathryn Cyrus made a presentation of eight padded chairs to Programme Coordinator Annis John. Steve Corea, of the UK, presented HHC President Junior Bacchus with a cheque for $2,600 and President of the Soroptimist International Dr Shirley Robertson presented another cheque for $2,000 to HHC Treasurer Clifford Edwards.

Programme Coordinator Annis John, in speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, expressed her deep gratitude for the donations. She related that it is a hard task getting people to commit to donating. “It is sort of difficult because it’s not everybody (that) you approach (who) will give”. She further explained that the Government does not make a financial contribution, but rather sends volunteers from the Youth Empowerment Programme and gives them equipment from time to time. Young Leaders also volunteer.

HHC President Junior Bacchus believes that these children challenge us all. “When God gives us children, He gives us children that would bring out the best in us”. Their disabilities help to bring out the best in our characters. On that basis, he appeals to the public for whatever help they can provide. Currently, the centre does not provide a live-in service, so the children must return to their homes daily. This makes the centre heavily dependent on their school bus, which costs approximately $26,000 per year to run and maintain. Bacchus made an appeal to mechanics to donate regular servicing for free and to business places to contribute towards petrol costs.

Founded in 1995, the HHC is the only school in SVG that takes care of severely disabled children. This non-profit organisation currently services fifteen children and provides them with physical therapy, speech therapy, self-help skills and basic education. The majority of the students suffer from cerebral palsy. Some students are afflicted with severe seizures, whilst a few others are autistic. The aim of the HHC is to equip the students with the necessary skills that would enable them to progress to a school (that could accommodate for their physical disability) of their parents’ choice. Despite there being a few students who are beyond rehabilitation, many students have successfully moved on to the School for Children with Special Needs and Sunnyvale. One past student has even progressed to Girls’ High School. (JSV)