RADHICA DE SILVA
After many days of hopelessness, the Samlal families of Phillippine have started receiving help.
Some 20 children, between the ages of three months to 17-years, as well as their grandparents and parents, have been living in the plywood shacks on the edge of Palmiste, one of San Fernando’s most affluent communities.
After Guardian Media and CNC3 highlighted their story of struggle on Saturday, Good Samaritans from across the country started pledging help.
Former police inspector Dave Persad brought grocery items for the family.
Breaking down in tears, Persad said, “This story really touched me. I am impressed by this family’s ambition. Instead of begging or getting into crime like many people, they reaching out for an education,” he said.
Persad said he was also impressed that even as they continued to receive aid, they were still going about their normal duties, washing tumeric to sell and fleshing out chatagne seeds.
The children and their grandfather Ricky Samlal go out every day to sell whatever they plant. They grow ochroes, tumeric and other fruits and crops.
The teenaged children sell outside Super Pharm and outside the Gulf City Mall but since COVID-19 hit, they have not been getting many sales. They also scavenge for bottles which they sell as well. However, Samlal said sometimes it may take more than a year to get a sale for the bottles.
The empty Stag and Carib bottles are stacked neatly inside an old refrigerator and in an empty water tank cut in half.
Persad said he wanted to help Nilee Samlal achieved her dream of being a teacher.
“My friend Shiva Boodram and I said we will open an account for the little girl to help her with her education,” Persad said.
Zanim Mohammed, of the ASH-NAD Foundation, also visited the family bringing food hampers and drinks. Mohammed said the Foundation was committed to assisting those in need.
“We are here to lend some support to this family. We will assess their needs and provide whatever we can to assist,” Mohammed said.
Nilee said she was thankful for the assistance. Nilee teaches her 20 nieces and nephews every day. None of them have devices, internet access or electricity but their parents collect packages for them from the Hermitage Presbyterian School each week.
Saying she planned to apply to do a degree in Education, Nilee said in the meantime she will continue the children’s school lessons.
Her sister Sarah Samlal, who has seven children of her own said she was very happy for the assistance they have received so far. However, the family is still in need of building materials.
Anyone willing to assist the family can contact Nilee at 778-9229.