FT. LAUDERDALE – Children of Jamaica will once again benefit from stable housing, family, and educational support proposed for the Four Paths, Clarendon area by the Educational Foundation for Children’s Care Incorporated (EFCCI), a Florida based non-profit organization, which was officially launched last Sunday,February 12 at the Signature Grand in Fort Lauderdale.
“The purpose of EFCCI is to provide access and support to disadvantage and disenfranchise children in communities throughout Jamaica”, according to President, Dr. Hugh W. Crarey of South Florida.
Work on this project is to begin shortly as some 47 acres have already been acquired in Four Paths, Clarendon on which the Foundation will construct “Eden Valley Village.” This property will house 12 family homes, vocational institutions, shops and farms. Revenues from the latter will help to support the children housed at the proposed Village.
Meanwhile, the Foundation has identified two additional projects to be initiated in South Florida. These will include an after school tutorial program, and a program to address the social needs of children of prisoners. Negotiations are currently taking place to identify suitable facilities to adequately house the South Florida locations.
The EFCCI has already pledged $10,000 this year to initiate the proposed project. Additional fundraising and marketing ventures will continue to raise funds needed for sustaining the venture.
The Education Foundation is partnering with the US based nonprofit children agency, International Children’s Care (ICI), headquartered in Washington State. ICI now works in 18 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, providing assistance to orphaned, abandoned and needy children.
Over 12,000 children have been brought to facilities in countries in those regions as a result of conditions like poverty, neglect and war, according to Mr. Rick Fleck, President of International Children’s Care who was present at the launch.
This organization (ICI) intends to provide similar facilities in Jamaica where a child would be housed in a natural family environment or an adoptive home, based on the circumstances encountered by the child.
The facilities would be staffed with medically trained professionals and provide support, in areas of special needs relevant to the children.
The Educational Foundation for Children’s Care, Incorporated is the brainchild of Dr. Crarey, a retired lecturer and Dr. Leon Wellington, Vice President of Inter-American Division of General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists and comprises a committee of a cross-section of members of that denomination in South Florida and Jamaica.
Jamaica’s Consul General, Ricardo Allicock, in addressing audience said that while the EFCCI was a worthwhile project, Jamaica cannot achieve its full potential without the full commitment of every interested Jamaican whether at home or abroad.
According to Consul General Allicock, the Government had begun some initiatives in dealing with the issues facing the state of children in Jamaica today. He spoke of the Poverty Eradication Program recently initiated in collaboration with the Saint Andrew Parish Church to rid the streets of “at risk” children.
The pilot project was being tested in Kingston and intended to expand to Montego Bay and other major cities nationwide.
Under this initiative, three phases of development have been outlined for the nearly 2,200 participants age 0 through 18 years, presently engaged in the ‘Possibility Program,” – namely counseling, skills training and family reunification.
The Consul General indicated single parenting and childhood poverty as some of the challenges faced in childhood development. In this regard, he spoke of those households run by single parent were primarily women and noted that fatherless upbringing continued to be a problem.
As he elaborated on the efforts by Government and the civil society to target the challenges in this area, Mr. Allicock spoke of some 63 children’s homes and places of safety run also by Government with an additional 2,000 occupants housed at these institutions. Another 3,000 basic schools were being funded by government, community associations and churches nationwide, while 400 daycare centers were independently owned and operated. There were some 120 infant departments attached to primary schools islandwide.
While the area of childhood development was being addressed, the Consul General called for more support in laying a positive direction for the foundation of our society.
In lauding the founding members for their commitment and patriotism, Mr. Allicock said that the EFCCI had demonstrated a humanitarian effort in recognizing and establishing the needs of our children. As he endorsed the efforts of the EFCCI, he challenged the community to involve their support in similar programs that would eventually benefit the future of our great nation.