As part of its continued charitable efforts, the Humanitarian Assistance Programme of the United States Embassy yesterday substantially endowed the Palms with some much needed paraphernalia.
Among the donation were a 50-inch plasma television set and several kitchen utensils and tools, courtesy of the United States Southern Command.
The US Southern Command, which is the military wing in this hemisphere, oversees all of South and Central America humanitarian programmes. It operates in conjunction with the Military Liaison office at the US Embassy.
By next month, the Humanitarian Assistance Programme, with support from Food for the Poor, will donate 150 medical mattresses to the senior citizens’ home, according to Humanitarian Assistance Programme Co-ordinator, Claritza Juarez.
A promise has also since been made to provide reading materials for a library at the facility through the Military Liaison Office.
Previously, the Humanitarian Programme funded the rehabilitation of two wings of the facility. “We try to work with all of the Ministries to see how within the United States Embassy and the military we can facilitate some assistance…Whatever they need we try to assist in various ways.”
And according to Juarez, donations have been made in various forms to nine out of the 10 administrative regions. Just last week, she said that donations were made in Bartica to a number of primary school students in the form of shoes.
“We have done donations from Lethem to Mabaruma; we just got done with a meeting with the Permanent Secretary to see how we can support in other ways.”
Yesterday’s donation was presented to Permanent Secretary within the Human Services Ministry, Trevor Thomas, by Captain Brook Elkins, who said, “We do humanitarian programmes all the time. We have other things coming up in the future for Guyana and for the Caribbean,” he added.
According to Thomas, yesterday’s donation represents the beginning of a bolstered relationship between the Human Services Ministry and the US Embassy.
He recounted that it was earlier this year that officials from the Humanitarian Department met Human Services and Social Security Minister, Priya Manickchand, and sought to highlight areas in which assistance could be made possible.
The request for assistance for the Palms was forthcoming at that point.
Thomas revealed, too, that Government has been working to enhance the facility. It delivered a $10 million grant towards the construction of a recently completed recreational area for the senior citizens.
“One of our concerns is the need to ensure that our senior citizens are not only provided with beds and meals but they also need other facilities.
We can take care of their wellbeing, so we are trying to improve the quality of life at the Palms so they don’t just rest and wait to die.” Almost every ward of the facility, he said, is furnished with a television set or radio.
In addition to plans to incorporate a library, Thomas said that measures are apace to include a gym for the more than 200 residents of the facility. Some $3M has been made available for the procurement of exercise equipment, he added.
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