Amidst all the plans for this year’s Christmas holidays, the Bless the Children Home-Orphanage states that their one wish is to have the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) more involved with the children at the home.
Owned and operated by Sheila Surujpaul and her husband, Reverend Surujnauth Surujpaul, the Bless the Children Home – Orphanage is located at 42 Industry Front Road, East Coast Demerara, and houses a total of 26 children, who range in age, from seven to eighteen years old, and five workers.
Speaking with Stabroek News, in the absence of the owners, and their daughter Feona Surujpaul-Pasca, who oversees the day to day operations, all of whom are currently in the United States, was the home’s spokesman, Horace Legall.
Legall noted that as the holiday season approaches, they wish for the CCPA to have more interaction with the children.
“These children lack parental care, and some even call me Daddy. We need persons to come and interact with them,” he noted.
Legall mentioned that when children are brought to the home by the CCPA, they are often dropped off with just what is on their backs. He expressed the home’s gratitude to the sponsors who assist with providing the children with clothing and shoes, along with other necessities.
“There are cases where the CCPA brings a child that’s at a particular school and we have to fund their transfer costs, which is $3,000 for primary and $5,000 for secondary,” Legall added.
Another important issue that Legall noted was the fact that a number of the children do not have birth certificates. This, he says, is a major concern because when the child turns 18 and its time for them to go out on their own, there’s no way for the public to identify them.
“Anything can happen to them,” Legall stated, while adding, “and there is no form of identification for them.”
He related that the home has tried several avenues to obtain birth certificates for the children but so far, the task has proven futile. This, he says, is because when the CCPA brings a child to the home, they have the onerous task of sourcing the mother and father of the child.
A frustrated Legall pointed out that sometimes these parents are drunks and that there’s only so much the home can do.
The CCPA, he added, also needs to facilitate better medical checks for children, because there are several who have been molested, and all the CCPA does for the children are simple medical checks instead of complete thorough medical examinations.
Legall further noted that the children are in need of someone who they can speak to on a regular basis and not just when something happens.
However, he said that there are pastors who come in and speak to the children, and volunteers who also try to assist, but the home needs professional people talking to the children.
“The CCPA says that we ought to take them to see a psychologist, but one person can’t do that when there’s still things to be done at the orphanage itself”, he added.
Despite the fact that the CCPA has someone who is supposed to be visiting the home every Wednesday, Legally stated that the last time he recalls the home receiving such a visit was in October.
“The CCPA only sends persons out when we call because there’s a problem, but other than that there’s nothing”, Legall said.
Adding that the children “have hurts” and when things happen they react, but you can’t blame them because there’s “not enough being done to correct their hurt.”
Legall noted that it is the desire of the home to have all the children who come there succeed.
He stated that the children have the support of many persons, but there is a whole lot more that the CCPA can do, not just bringing the children to the home, but doing their part as well.
On a much lighter note Legall said that as it relates to Christmas, the Home has no plans for the holidays, but they have received invitations from several foundations, who annually plan activities for the holidays.