Spreading Christmas cheer to those who touch our hearts

By Lakhram Bhagirat

We were all brought up with the notion that charity begins at home but should not end there, and especially around Christmas time, we feel even more charitable. We feel more charitable because it is the season for giving and helping those who require it. Christmas is the season where we try our best to put smiles on the faces of those close to us as well as around us.
Bearing that in mind, the staff of Guyana Times, Evening News, Inews, TV-G Channel 28 and Radio Guyana (85.5) in collaboration with Environmental Management Consultants came together to put smiles on the faces of four families they thought deserved every little bit of help they could get. During the past year, our reporters had the opportunity to interact with many persons, and quite often persons in need of whatever assistance they can get. The four families we chose to assist this year have undergone struggles beyond comprehension, but they are resilient and fighting to survive.

Honouring a young hero
In February, we reported on the heroic act of a seven-year-old that left a lasting impression on us. It was the night of February 5 when Kison Henry was all alone with her four-year-old brother, Kyle in their Glasgow New Housing Scheme, New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). They were sleeping, but sometime around 21:30h they were awakened by smoke only to discover that their two-storey wooden and concrete house was on fire.
One can only imagine the state of panic that must have come as the children started to cry for help but realised they were all alone, with no help. However, Kison pulled herself together and wrapped her brother in a blanket, tied it to a window and eased him out of the burning house. When he was safe, she then began to climb down the blanket which loosened, resulting in her falling from approximately 14 feet high. She sustained a fractured leg.
After the children escaped, they began screaming and neighbour rushed to their assistance. The fire may have started from a lit candle which was left there by the children’s mother who locked them in the house and went out. The mother has a history of neglecting the children and would have fled the scene after she discovered the fire.
Kison and Kyle now live with their grandmother, Donette. She said that they have been coping fairly well since the fire and are now rebuilding the pieces. She added that the children are adjusting, and people have been assisting them because of the heroic act of Kison.
Kison will forever be a hero because she not only saved her own life but the life of her brother as well hence the reason for us here at Times Media Group honouring her bravery. Stationery supplies, toys and food hampers were donated to the children so that their Christmas can be a little brighter. Donette said that it is the little things that matter the most to her grandchildren and they are grateful for all that has been bestowed upon them.

Helping a struggling father
Two Sunday’s ago, we reported that 67-year-old Egbert Kendall of Corentyne village is taking care of his family with his $19,500 pension. He is mostly confined to his bed, or rather, the thin sheet of sponge which has been placed on the floor of the 16-foot by 15-foot building.
Egbert Kendall had been the family’s sole breadwinner but three years ago he became ill. Because of his illness, his 17-year-old daughter has been forced to drop out of school to care for her father and two younger brothers.
His focus now is to make sure that the two boys finish school and as such, we donated a number of school supplies, a mattress and food items to the family.

Keeping their heads above water
In September one of the stories that resonated with us was when a mother told us “sometimes my children wake up hungry and all I can do is cry.” Melissa Sinclair is a mother of four, and she along with her husband were laid off when the Skeldon Estate closed its doors. They are yet to find permanent employment.
For now, her husband, Eon Collymore, takes up odd jobs and she sells snacks to school children. Their house is falling apart, and they are finding it hard to send the children to school. It was one of the reasons we made a donation to them, to ensure that the children can stay in school as well as enjoy the holidays.

Helping a single mother
The final family that we assisted was Pam Chandradeo of Mibicuri South, Black Bush Polder. In July 2016 the community was rocked when Pawan Chandradeo, also called “Surish”, 37, of Black Bush Polder; his son Jaikarran Chandradeo, also called “Kevin”, 15 and his brother-in-law, Narish Rooplall, also called “Mice”, 33, of Number 73 Village, Corentyne were discovered lying next to each other on a dam at Cookrite Savannah, Black Bush Polder, with gunshot wounds.
Pam is the wife of Pawan and mother of Jaikarran. The trio were fishing in the backdam when they were attacked and killed. Since then, Pam has been the sole breadwinner of her family and is struggling to make ends meet. Her son, Alvin, who was also with the trio was forced to drop out of school and is struggling to cope almost two years later.
She now maintains her family by doing some farming and rearing livestock. The perpetrators have been committed to stand trial in the High Court.