Glenn brings Christmas cheers to special needs kids
Glenn Ramadharsingh, Chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation, has been reaching out to special needs children for the past three years. Once again he has reached out to them through the Dr Glenn Foundation for Special Children which was launched in 2015. Dr Glenn Foundation for Special Children was launched by Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh and a few friends who came together to raise funds and contribute their personal cash to reach out to those families in needs. “When I was Minister of the People and Social Welfare I was touched by the plight of these special needs children and the daily challenges their families, especially mothers, had to endure looking after them,” said Glenn.
Through Dr Glenn Foundation for Special Children Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh has been reaching out to special children. On Wednesday 20th December Glenn reached out to children in Carapichaima; on Thursday 21st December at 9am he met with special needs children at the Siparia Regional Corporation and on Christmas Eve at11 am at Oropoune Housing Development, Piarco.
Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh served as Minister of the People and Social Welfare from 2010 to 2014. During this time he came into contact with families with children suffering from cerebral palsy. “I discovered that many parents had to lock up their children to venture out to perform a day’s work. I felt that this was wrong and that my ministry should do something to help these people,” said Glenn.
Dr Ramadharsingh discussed the plight of those parents with government officials and successfully negotiated for them employment with URP whereby they received $84.50 per day for taking care of their children. “But this program has stopped. Fitzerald Hinds had pledged that when the PNM returns to power he would stop that arrangement and did so in 2015,” said Dr Ramadharsingh.
“The Empowerment and Enrichment Centre at Carlsen Field, Chaguanas was built under my watch. The facility was aimed at teaching skills, crafts and games to special needs children. The building remains shut under the PNM while these children are left to wallow in their miseries, “Glenn complained.
Chris Ramdass of Carapichaima works with the Cerebral Society of Trinidad and Tobago. His son, Yaspal Ramdas, was suffering from cerebral palsy and died about five years ago. Chris is still active with the society. He said that “Dr Ramamdharsingh was the only minister that helped the Society” and lamented the removal of the URP grant the parents were receiving. He continued: “Dr Ramadharsingh gave us a voice. He is always around although he is not a minister of government.”
Kim Quashe lives at Siparia and describes herself as “an activist for people suffering with cerebral palsy.” Their group has five patients with cerebral palsy. “Government is not doing anything to make the life of these children and their parents comfortable,” she said.
Kim shares with me the plight of a mother with two girls, ages 6 years and 3 years, suffering from cerebral palsy. “This government stopped the food card and the URP grant. The mother receives $1180 for one child and Social Welfare said that they cannot provide grants to two persons in the same household,” said Kim. “That money is not enough to buy pampers. The children are bright but there is no special school to teach them. They attend the regular school in Point Fortin.”
Kim reported that a team of doctors from abroad visited the cerebral patients and the care was so great. “They informed us that there are special schools and trained personnel to care for these children,” she reported.
Both Chris Ramdass and Kim Quashe are not giving up. Kim is hopeful… “ I know change is coming.” Chris is optimistic and said that “we have been promised that the Empowerment and Enrichment Centre at Carlsen Field is going to open next year. I am looking forward to that.”