Thirty years ago, Hope Centre in San Fernando opened its doors to the most vulnerable in society and since then, more than 300 children have found much-needed love and security behind those walls.
As the children’s home marked its anniversary on Tuesday, they were highly commended by San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello for providing a safe haven to children.
He recalled that two of the children who came through the home were survivors of the Dole Chadee-ordered hit on a Williamsville family in 1994. One of those children, he said, is now a lawyer.
“That is the story of Hope Centre. There are many others who would have come through here,” Regrello added.
Noting that the centre building is like a landmark in San Fernando, Regello said, “What a great place for you to have children in this ambience and this atmosphere with the trees and it is positive. We must commend you, Aunty Polly and your team, for what you have been doing over the years for rescuing and saving lives. You all have been doing better than the government, may I say, but with the assistance of the government. So I want to congratulate you.”
Polly Indar, chairperson of the board of management at Hope Centre, said the home started in 1992 and since then they had done renovations to the building.
“Now, we are considered one of the better run homes by the Children’s Authority. We do everything, right. We give the children all of their needs. We have permission to look after all their needs—physical, mental, psychological, educational.”
She said more than 300 children have passed through their doors over the past 30 years and right now they have 12 children. The home can accommodate 18 children.
However, Indar said more children’s homes are needed in the country. “Why are they sending children from Port-of-Spain to San Fernando and children from South up to North? They do not have (homes) but they are trying their best. The Children’s Authority is trying their best, they are overworked, and there is so much abuse of children happening.”
She noted that there are only two other homes in south.
Following the ceremony, a double Chaconia plant, which is the national flower, was planted on the compound.