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Digicel hands over new Mahaica Children’s Home

The newly constructed Mahaica Children’s home (GINA photo)

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on Thursday received the new, elegantly designed Mahaica Children’s Home from telecommunications company, Digicel Guyana.

The building was also commissioned by Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster and Digicel’s Marketing Director, Jacqueline James, who pioneered this project.

The reconstruction of the building is an effort to change the lives of Guyanese children and make them more comfortable, Minister Webster said.

The ‘L’ shape concrete, two-storey building will house children who have been neglected,   abused or abandoned before the Human Services Ministry rescued them.

“When we turned the sod on the 25th July, 2012 with Digicel Guyana, we, on the perspective of the Government of Guyana looked forward to changing and making a difference in the lives of many children that we have in our care,” Minister Webster said.

The project originated in 2011, after a Digicel team visited the home during the Christmas season to spread cheer and observed that the conditions under which the children were living could be improved.

The project was initially meant to refurbish the building, but after consulting an architect, the team was advised that the better option was to rebuild, and in July, Digicel signed a contract with R&D Engineering Services to construct the building. Patterson & Associates Quantity Surveyors was also on the job while layout of the building was designed by Marcel Gaskin and Associates.

The construction of the building commenced in August 2012 and was completed in May 2013, shortly after which the children were able to move into their new home.

Minister Webster expressed President Donald Ramotar’s appreciation to Digicel for this undertaking.

She said the magnificent edifice is a warm and homely place and can accommodate 80 children. However, 62 are currently living in the facility that comprises two dorms, a study area equipped with computers, books and tables, a kitchen, complete washroom and bath facilities, a recreational room and a kitchen.

The Ministry will be implementing measures to have a management system to ensure proper maintenance of the building. She also said that the Child Protection and Services Act indicates that all children’s homes throughout the country must have a minimum standard, and the Child Care and Development Services Act 2011, formally addresses the standards in care facilities. Therefore, the Ministry is working to ensure the standards are maintained.

She also extended her gratitude to Digicel, which she referred to as a good corporate citizen and expressed her hope for the continuation of their dedication to Guyana.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Dean highlighted that the Digicel has engaged in several similar projects that will be completed within the next three months, and in the New Year, it will engage in other projects.  He said that Digicel hopes to refurbish all the children’s homes across Guyana within the next five years.