Grieving children get a reason to smile - August Town community brings cheer to traumatised youth

November 01, 2021
African Gardens, August Town, in St Andrew.
African Gardens, August Town, in St Andrew.

Fed up with the vicious cycle of a violent communities breeding violent children, the residents of African Gardens in August Town are taking steps to ensure that cycle doesn't continue.

Last Friday, the August Town Children Development Programme, alongside the Sizzla Youth Foundation, staged a cookout to raise funds for children who have lost parents to violence.

Resident Martyn Bennett told THE STAR, "You have kids all over the community that lose parents and their mother need help. You have over 50-odd kids in the programme and sometime their caregiver in the programme is like their grandmother, so the programme is here to actually relieve some of the stress pertaining to help in certain areas where they cyah manage."

Secretary of the programme, Nadine Edwards, said that while it has been active since 2012, this is the second public fundraising activity, the first being in May. In that event, the programme raised funds through sponsors.

"Each parent got $5,000 per child. This iteration should have been done from August, but because of the violence, the rain, lockdowns and stuff like that we said we're gonna just do it whenever we get a chance," she said.

Edwards said the cookout was also aided by persons abroad who sent care packages which included items such as books and bags.

"So what we're doing is to put the money together and the money here now will be put towards persons who don't have a good tablet or for the headphones and other small items like books and stuff, because most of the parents have already bought textbooks because this was delayed. So, this is just some help to do whatever is not yet done," she said.

Another function of the programme is to provide free counselling for residents who have witnessed violence.

"With the Ray of Hope Open Bible Church, we also enlist them to assist in counselling. That is every other Saturday. It is really every Saturday but because of the number of people in the programme, a parent will go every other Saturday. On a one-to-one basis, if the parents also want counselling, they can come, too. It's not just for the children."

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