The Father Maligan Home for Boys at Richmond Hill in St. George’s has received a facelift and an additional wing to provide greater comfort to the underprivileged and vulnerable boys living there.
Approximately $1 million worth of assistance was provided to the home by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
The new wing, named Brewder House comes with being an additional 20 beds and a refurbished basketball court to provide recreation for the boys.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony was held at home in the presence of Governor General Dame Cecil La Grenade, and Minister of Social Development and Housing, Delma Thomas.
The Child Protection Authority (CPA) is tasked with resolving the issues plaguing the vulnerable boys and often looks to the Father Maligan Home for Boys to offer assistance.
Speaking at the ceremony, Director of CPA, Yvonne Dabreo noted that children are the most vulnerable in the community since they do not have the power to stop abuse and have to rely on others to help them to do so.
“We have the responsibility for making sure that children are safe and that their needs are met”, she said.
This responsibility, she added “must be shared between the family, general community, community agencies, as well as professionals working with children, police and government, among other organisations.
According to DaBreo, each entity has a significant role to play to ensure the safety and well being of children and young people and to help protect them from harm.
“We express at the Child Protection Authority profound appreciation to the Maria Holder Memorial Trust and for its delegation here today for making this activity today a reality”, she remarked.
The Maria Holder Memorial Trust has been a friend to Grenada for many years proving assistance to New Life Organisation (NEWLO) at Palmiste, St. John and the Queen Elizabeth Home at Tempe, St. George.
Chairman and Co-Founder of the Trust, Christopher Holder said the objective of the trust is to assist vulnerable countries.
“When we were asked to look at this home and how it can be improved I didn’t realise just how much a new building was needed and we deliberated long and hard about how to go about this. Why Brewder house? As you know I am Swiss and Brewder with a slight variation in spelling means brother in German and the Brew of the name is for Brewser – my co-founder and vice chairman, and the der is the end part of holder, so we played with that and hence, brewder house…”.
“So, it’s the unity of the families, the unity of bringing these boys, adolescents together in a very holistic way. It’s a wonderful facility, to me it’s very unfortunate with the work that I do to actually speak at these events to actually open facilities like this because really they shouldn’t be needed … but unfortunately the way the world is today…sadly they would be needed even more and therefore it is our pleasure and our desire to help wherever we can.
Chairperson of CPA, former Health Minister Ann David-Antoine pointed out that the opening Brewder House is seen as a catalyst to bring focused attention and purposely directed action to the boys at the home.
“The time is right for the opening of this facility…the time is definitely right because we are doing this in the month that is dedicated to action against child abuse under the theme, “Action now”.
David-Antoine noted that April is significant since it is the month for the culmination of all violence against the child, and the intensified foster parent recruitment drive is happening in this month, and the gift of love project is being launched by the authority.
“All of these things would bring focused attention to the care of children, vulnerable persons in our society…”, she said.
“The task ahead for each and every one of us is for a shift in the negative perception of the agencies working in the fields to embrace the positive issues to galvanise action on the ground, to ask individually what I can do, what is my part in the grand scheme of things, what can I do to effect meaningful change, what can I do to be supportive, what can I do to be more understanding and to be more compassionate to the boys, to the young residents of the Brewder facility?
Antoine also posed the question: “What can I do to advance the need for more responsible parenting? Should I seriously consider becoming a foster parent or an adopted parent? What can I do to play an active role in society to minimise the conditions and the situations which cause so many children to require residential care and so many children to be overly stressed so that they feel the need to harm themselves?
In her remarks, the Social Development and Housing Minister said that the work of the trust must be encouraged and supported as it is through these initiatives that young people can achieve more than what they actually know.
“I share with you the satisfaction and the pleasure of opening this new wing of the Fr. Maligan Home for Boys – taking care of our boys must increasingly become a preoccupation for all of us in this society. There are reasons to be concerned in recent years that too many of our young boys are falling through the cracks, that too many of the boys in need do not have the institutional and community support they deserve”, she told the small gathering.
“Studies have suggested that many of our young boys are under achieving which means that they will not be prepared as they should be to take up their role as fathers and community leaders, later on that is why in this context, your work must be celebrated and encouraged and supported,” she said.