New home for single mother

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by: Radica Sookraj

Car­ing Hearts Foun­da­tion steps in

Mala Deonanan, centre, with her children at their home, which is overgrown by vines, at Armour Street, Princes Town.
Kristian De Silva

RAD­HI­CA DE SIL­VA

rad­hi­[email protected]

For al­most a year Mala De­o­nanan and her three chil­dren have been liv­ing in a dark, damp house, cloaked by a canopy of vines at Ar­mour Street, Princes Town.

The chil­dren—Ri­an­na Ali, 11, Alian­na Ali, eight and Lean­na De­o­nanan, six— have no prop­er place to play and no elec­tric­i­ty to help them in their stud­ies. There was no run­ning wa­ter to wash, bathe, cook or clean the house and no place to put their cloth­ing.

At night time, the chil­dren would hud­dle to­geth­er on a mat­tress with their moth­er, pray­ing that no snakes would drop from the over­head mass of vines.

In an in­ter­view on Mon­day, De­o­nanan said she fi­nal­ly saw some hope af­ter Dave Ro­driguez, a cam­era­man, who pro­duces Hard­core News on Face­book, came to her aid and high­light­ed her sto­ry.

De­o­nanan said the Car­ing Hearts Foun­da­tion, from Rousil­lac, re­spond­ed to the sto­ry and of­fered to build a two-room house for her at Princes Town.

She said her chil­dren’s fa­ther left them sev­er­al years ago, say­ing he was go­ing to pick up a job op­por­tu­ni­ty abroad and nev­er came back. De­o­nanan moved in­to her moth­er’s house at St Croix Road but last year the house burnt down.

“We had no place to go and a rel­a­tive who was stay­ing in that house told us to come and stay down­stairs,” De­o­nanan said.

The house was in a se­vere state of di­lap­i­da­tion but it at least pro­vid­ed some sort of shel­ter for the chil­dren.

The floor­ing from the con­demned up­per floor was miss­ing and the con­crete on the low­er floor was al­ways damp and slip­pery.

Heaps of cloth­ing lit­tered the floor and De­o­nanan said it was cus­tom­ary to see snakes slith­er­ing around.

“We have no place to put any­thing. We have no fur­ni­ture and no clos­ets. All we have is a stove but it is not al­ways func­tion­al,” De­o­nanan said.

Di­rec­tor of Car­ing Hearts Foun­da­tion In­di­ra Solomon, who owns an acre of land in Bar­rack­pore of­fered one lot to De­o­nanan and a 99-year lease but that of­fer was turned down.

How­ev­er, she opt­ed in­stead for the Foun­da­tion to build a house for her at St Croix Road, in Princes Town where she once lived.

“I don’t want to trans­fer the chil­dren out to an­oth­er school. I don’t want their ed­u­ca­tion to be dis­rupt­ed. If we live in Princes Town they will know every­one around and we could build a bet­ter life,” she said.

Solomon on Mon­day called on mem­bers of the pub­lic to as­sist the fam­i­ly in fur­nish­ing their new home. She said some­one had al­ready do­nat­ed all the chil­dren’s school books and uni­forms.

“We plan to build the house this week­end, just a two-room house and we will try to get them moved in be­fore the start of the new school term,” Solomon said.

Any­one want­i­ng to as­sist the fam­i­ly can con­tact them at 375-0857.

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