Rescue, a home for socially displaced, homeless and hard-to-handle boys,
has found a new site in Belmont.
But repairs to the new premises will take three months, and the shelter
has only a month to vacate its present location at Bournes Road, St
The new home, at Jerningham Avenue, Belmont, will cost a good deal of
money to repair.
We have received Government assistance, said Judy Wilson,
CEO and programme co-ordinator of Rainbow Rescue. (Trade and Industry
Minister) Ken Valley was really instrumental in getting this place for
But so far this is all the assistance offered by the Government.
The building comes rent-free with the condition that it must be repaired
by the home. The cost of repairs is yet to be determined. But the estimate
for the work on the roof alone is $80,000.
The new site is being leased to the shelter for two years by the North
West Regional Health Authority.
Refurbishing the new residence will be a challenge for the home, as
it survives solely by the grace of sponsors.
The building is structurally sound, but front and back will have
to be redone. It hasnt been inhabited for the last 20 years,
said June Gardner, president of Rainbow Rescue.
Pigeons and vagrants have lived in it for some time. The roof
has to be broken down. The wall where the kitchen is, is cracked all
over and the entire kitchen will have to be redone. The beams of the
building have been eaten and rotted by termites.
But it will not be the first challenge that the home has endured, she
In the last three years, more than 25 boys have found shelter at Rainbow
Children are allowed in the home from age nine and can stay until they
are 19. Wilson said all of her students are prepared for independent
living by that age.
We dont throw them out. We make sure they can get on their
feet, she said.
Wilson began her career as a caregiver six years ago at Credo House,
a shelter for homeless children in Port-of-Spain.
She recalled going to Woodford Square at 5 am looking for needy children.
Ive been to every nook and cranny of Trinidad trying to
find street children, she said.
Wilson has four children of her own and said it breaks her heart to
see children living on the street,
There was a need for help. It started off as just a gesture: I
would give Christmas lunch to street children. Then I realised there
was a need for more homes because the number of street children is the
fastest-growing homeless population in Trinidad, she said.
When she first started Rainbow Rescue, it was out of her own home.
We dropped the children to school so there was no passage to pay.
I had to buy extra food, but other than that it was manageable,
The home now has four caregivers who work shifts around the clock, so
the 13 children are never left unsupervised.
Some children come to the home from off the streets, others from abusive
homes, and the rest display out-of-control behaviour that their parents
cant handle, said Wilson.
A lot of children run away from home because of their stepfathers.
The mothers have to decide between this child that is giving trouble
or the man that is providing for her and the rest of children. They
usually choose the man.
Most of the children who live at the home were enrolled in school before,
she said. They are therefore kept in school, but Wilson admits they
are not all academically inclined.
We found that some of the children enrolled in school were not
learning. They were moving up, but could not read. Thanks to bpTT and
their sponsored learning programme we were able to give them extra lessons
at home, Wilson said.
By providing them with a more private setting, they are improving.
We try to find something they like and develop them as best as
we can. For example, one of our students loves landscaping. We will
make sure he can read and have the basics and get him involved in landscaping
as much as possible.
Rainbow Rescues biggest contributor is the Rockefeller Foundation.
The Rockefeller Foundation has kept us on our feet. Other people
give regularly as well. The British High Commission furnished the home.
There is a pensioner who gives us $200 a month, religiously, Wilson
Many of the children have slight mental disorders and need more psychological
help, Gardner said.
Many of these children are dealing with anger, hatred and rejection.
They have no conscience because of all the abuse. Sometimes childrens
homes cannot help, she said.
At present Rainbow Rescue provides part-time psychological care according
to the availability and price range of psychologists.
There is a need for a remedial school where children like these can
receive long-term psychological care, she continued.
This home should house them, treat them and teach them, Wilson added.
Rainbow Rescue is asking the public to assist in any way they can as
the home continues to provide for children in need.
The home can be contacted at 622-2722.