Over $300K injection for disabled children’s outreach project

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Friends of the Care Project is preparing to launch a community outreach project aimed at building capacity among parents and professionals to care for disabled children.
According to the President of the Friends of the Care Project, Annette Carey, a large part of the initiative is to encourage early intervention in the lives of Antigua & Barbuda’s disabled children.
“Many of the children can become productive and useful members of society and even go out to work but to do that we need to get early intervention outreach,” she said.
Carey was speaking to OBSERVER media after the Calvin Ayre Foundation donated EC $334,000 to fund the outreach project in full.
“The project is to get out there and meet and help the parents and give them a focal point where they can come and where they can talk to people. Sometimes, parents hardly know what to do with their children,” Carey added.
Gaming mogul and multi-millionaire Calvin Ayre used the donation ceremony to ask “others in the Antiguan business community who are also sharing in good fortune to give back to the most vulnerable in society”.
Ayre said that for every child at the Care Project, “there are countless more disabled across the country” who “are behind closed doors”. He said his hope was that the outreach project would “reach out into the community … and help open these doors”.
According to Carey, the project will also “take young Antiguans who want to work in this industry with vulnerable people and train them on the job”.
Matron of the Care Project, Juliet Delabastide admitted that the input of the Friends of the Care Project is “critical for the survival of the residents and the daily clients that utilise this home”. According to the matron there are 21 children and young people who are being cared for at the Holberton Hospital where the home is based.
Delabastide said that the Care Project “requests occupational therapy and things like that” from the Friends and said the regular donations from community partners go “a long way in meeting the demands that we face daily”.
In addition to the outreach project, there are facilities inclusive of a new “30-bed home … a developmental centre” and “holistic centre”, the construction of which “will probably start in about seven to eight weeks”, according to Carey.
 “It is not going to be an institution or a hospital. It is going to be a home where they can come, learn, be looked after and progress through life,” she said.
The matron added that the hope for the new building to be located on the same grounds “was to customise it with what is needed for today’s standards for looking after challenged individuals”.

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