MONTEGO BAY, St James – Still victims of stigmatisation some 40 years after HIV was first discovered in humans in the United States, 25 western Jamaica-based women and children living with the disease were recipients of care packages on Mother’s Day, last weekend.
The women, ages ranging between 14 and 31 years old, and who hail from the parishes of St James and Hanover, were surprised with care packages of uncooked Rainforest Seafoods oxtail, shrimp, fish, pasta, and potato wedges, enough to feed families of 10, courtesy of Montego Bay-based charity Sarah’s Children in partnership with RSD Shipping Agency Jamaica Limited.
The idea is to get the ladies to prepare the meal with their families on Sunday, Sarah’s Children’s Pamella Findley stated a day before Mother’s Day, during the presentation outside the Rainforest facility in Montego Freeport.
The women, all attached to the Eve for Life programme, some pregnant, others out of jobs, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, admitted that this has been a very difficult period in their lives.
“Not only have many of them lost their jobs, but their spouses have lost theirs too,” Eve for Life’s Samantha Williams revealed, adding that the initiative would show them that particularly on Mother’s Day, they were not alone in their struggles.
Sonia Clarke Bowen, managing director at RSD Shipping, a mother herself, who reached out to Sarah’s Children with the idea of the partnership, pointed out that her Christian principles teaches her that “God has all of us on the same level, I believe in giving and treating persons as equal, no matter what their circumstances”.
Clarke Bowen said just seeing the smile on the faces of the young women warmed her heart.
Many of the women were sexually abused in their teen years, a number of them by close family members, while at least one of the recipients, a 21-year-old mother, is carrying the disease since birth. Her mother, who transmitted the virus through pregnancy, died 19 years ago.
“The women we are helping today are the same ones we advocate on behalf of every day. This is what Sarah’s Children was created for. To represent abused children, women, and the elderly who are abandoned,” stated Findley.
“We are doing what we normally do, which is reaching out. It is showing these women that though they are in the situation they are in, they are not alone,” she added.
Speaking of the organisation’s plans to do many more outreach projects, she said they were targeting people in need of essential items such as pampers/pull-ups and medication, which have become extremely expensive for the elderly.
“We have been visiting some of the areas such as Salt Spring, Retirement, Irwin and Norwood, and what we have seen is heart-wrenching. There is the need for sustained projects that will help particularly the elderly to live better lives. Many of them are unable to purchase pampers,” said Findley.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive