11 orphanages ‘adopted’ through First Lady’s initiative

Eleven orphanages will begin receiving significant financial and other support from corporate sponsors through the ‘Adopt-an-Orphanage’ Initiative which was introduced by First Lady Arya Ali last year.

First Lady Arya Ali and representatives of the eleven orphanages which were ‘adopted’ by corporate sponsors

At a ceremony on Thursday at the Hope Children’s Home in Enmore, the eleven orphanages signed Memorandums of Understanding (MUs) with their respective sponsors for a duration of six to 12 months.
Having recognised the difficulties orphanages were facing due to financial constraints, the First Lady introduced the initiative with the intention of ensuring support for the homes was sustainable. Eight orphanages were sponsored last year, with three more being added this year.
The 11 orphanages are Joshua House Children’s Centre, Bless the Children’s Home, Ruimveldt Children’s Home, St John Basco Orphanage, Shaheed Boys Orphanage, Shaheed Girls Orphanage, St. Ann’s Orphanage, Prabhu Sharan Orphanage, Hope Children’s Home, Red Cross Convalescent Children’s Home, and Canaan Children’s Home.
The sponsors are: the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Guyana Shore Base Inc., Demerara Bank, Go Logistics, China Trading, Premier Construction, Optique Ninon, Vitality Inc., Junior Sammy Guyana, Optique Vision Care, and Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital.

First Lady Arya Ali, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Guyana, H.E. Gou Haiyan (third left), and other sponsors of the Adopt-an-Orphanage Initiative

According to the First Lady, this new phase of the project would include visitation to the homes, for sponsors and volunteers to spend one-on-one time with the children; provision of medical care, including eye testing and dental services; counselling and tutoring services; and social activities, including picnics.
The First Lady has said that with support from the Ministry of Human Services, she would also begin examining “a robust transition plan” for teenagers in those homes who are stepping into adulthood.
“A comprehensive approach to ensuring their seamless integration into society is critically important. And my office will also begin engaging entities to create employment opportunities for them,” she has said.
During her speech, Mrs. Ali highlighted that orphanages exist to create a positive environment in which children feel cared for, their personal needs are adequately met, and their social and professional development is nurtured. With this in mind, she said, it is therefore important to ensure that these homes are provided with as much support as they require.
“This initiative also provides us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our role in helping to create a better Guyana for our children,” she told the sponsors and other attendees.
Echoing similar sentiments was the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Guyana, Her Excellency Guo Haiyan, whose government is sponsoring three of the homes.
Ambassador Haiyan underscored the need for children to live in an environment in which they are happy, feel safe, and are healthy. She said that, like Guyana, China places great importance on children and their development.
“So, I am happy today to be part of this project to benefit the children,” she said, adding that she hopes this opportunity would lead to strengthening of the relationship between Guyana and China. Remarks were also delivered by Ms Saleema Haniff, founder of Aspire, a local non-governmental organisation (NGOs) that works with orphanages across the country; and by journalist and media personality Leroy Smith, who had spent eight years of his childhood at the Alpha Children’s Home.
Both individuals lauded the First Lady for her intervention, highlighting that her advocacy could lead to the transformational changes that are needed at some of the homes. At the end of the ceremony, tokens of appreciation were presented to the sponsors by the First Lady.