By RHONDOR DOWLAT Friday, December 15 2006
NEWSDAY’S Chacon Street, Port-of-Spain head office was inundated with telephone calls all of yesterday as dozens of emotional readers poured out their love for the three street children whose heartbreaking life stories were featured exclusively in yesterday’s edition.
The lead story titled: ‘Street Children Dream of Love for Christmas,’ led to readers both at home and abroad, calling to extend heartfelt best wishes and the hope that the street children story has a happy ending. There were even offers made by some to adopt the children, others stated their willingness to give them jobs while others promised daily baths, clothing and meals for them.
Some of the callers mood switched from sorrow to anger as they asked what was the Government doing to protect the less fortunate in society especially children.
“I cannot deal with this. This situation is so heart rending. Can’t the relevant authorities do something… these are only children, they are our future generation. They really need mothers, loving parents as a matter of fact,” stated Carol from Palo Seco.
Stephen Homer, from Youth Against Crime volunteered to raise funds for these children. Homer even offered to provide a full Christmas meal for them.
In Wednesday’s article, Newsday highlighted the plight of two street children “Kicks,” 14, and “Smiley,” 18, who both wished for their mothers on Christmas Day.
They also described the hard street life — having to fend for themselves and not knowing where or when their next meal will come.
Upon receiving the Newsday readers’ words of love, the boys expressed their happiness. With broad smiles on their faces, one of them said he didn’t mind moving into a new home. He even promised to “behave mehself”.
In response to the concerns raised, Communiciations Specialist in the Ministry of Social Development Carol Ann Mc Kenzie disclosed that there are several institutions established to accommodate these street children but admitted there were many challenges.
“We have the National Family Services and the Socially Displaced Unit to house these children. But for some reason or the other, when they (the children) are placed there, they run away,” she said.
Mc Kenzie revealed that the Ministry has launched a full-scale investigation as to why these children are being allowed to run away from these institutions.