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St Benedict’s institution receives US$100,000 from foundation in Middle East

St Benedict’s institution receives US$100,000 from foundation in Middle East

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St Benedict’s Day Nursery and Children’s Home at Georgetown, a Catholic institution that cares for underprivileged and special needs children, has received US$100,000 from an undisclosed foundation in the Middle East.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement on WE FM’s “Shake-up” programme on Friday.

He said he was having tea with the head of the foundation on the last day of his official trip to the Middle East in October, when the gentleman offered to assist with a local institution “that is doing good work.”

Gonsalves said the gentleman said he was willing to make a “sizeable contribution”.

The prime minister said he then suggested US$100,000.

“He said, ‘that is not an unreasonable contribution, Prime Minister,’ Gonsalves recounted on the radio programme, broadcast simultaneously on Star FM.

“As soon as he answered me that, the first and only entity which came into my mind, was Sister Nyra, the Catholic nun, her day nursery in Mt Bentinck,” Gonsalves said.

He said there are many children at the home “who we have to make sure are taken care of.

“And, in her expansion, she has more money she has to spend,” he said of Sister Nyra Anne Pajotte, the home’s administrator.

Gonsalves said that when he returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines, he told Pajotte of the development.

“She said, ‘Prime Minister, do you know I was praying for something like this?’ And the only name that came to me was Sister Nyra’s school. The Lord works in mysterious ways,” Gonsalves said.

He said the nun called on Friday to inform him that the money had been received.

“And one of the reasons I was particularly concerned about Sister Nyra and her school is that her organisation had some money in CLICO and you know they are waiting for some resolution on that,” he said in relation to the failed insurance company.

“The Foundation doesn’t want any publicity, so I don’t call the name of the foundation,” he said of the US$100,000 contributor.

“I had mentioned at the press conference that there was a particular institution. And now it has come, and for the sake of transparency, I mention that. But the people who are involved don’t want — it is a reputable foundation — they do things without any publicity,” Gonsalves further said.

Meanwhile, Pajotte told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the US$100,000 “is not even enough for what we want for St Benedict’s.”

The money, she said, would be used for the institution, which houses eight children and has a staff of 10.

“We have a lot of things. We have our fence, we have our road is in a state; we were able to manage to build a new unit, but there are lots of thing. … At present, we have other areas that need attention. We need right now a fence for security of the children …”

St Benedict’s website says that the institution, opened in the early 1960’s, has provided countless benefits to the Vincentian community.

“St Benedict’s provides an enhanced quality of life to St Vincent’s most vulnerable and often most neglected citizens: children with physical and/or mental disabilities. The children of St Benedict’s are provided with a safe, nurturing environment that encourages them to thrive and develop individual interests and talents,” the website says. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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