#HerStory: Empress Dannie, ‘rescuing’ children at Saint Lucia’s southern fishing ports

#HerStory: Empress Dannie, ‘rescuing’ children at Saint Lucia’s southern fishing ports
Empress Dannie
Empress Dannie

If you’ve ever spotted a brown-skinned woman toting dreadlocks down to her ankles or wrapped up in a stylish turban near fishing ports in the South, chances are you’ve spotted Empress Dannie.

They say that inspiration comes in various forms, and today our inspiration comes in the form of her.

Originally from Augier, Dannie’s story is one of peaks and valleys. She worked alongside her husband until he died unexpectedly, ultimately leaving her with no financial support and six young children to tend to. From there she realised quickly that the opportunities were sparse, particularly for a Rastafarian woman, and she would have to find a way to support herself and her children.

Always believing in the principles of entrepreneurship, Dannie decided to go into a field she was all too familiar with — farming.

Waking up every morning by herself to tend to her farm, her little ones soon noticed their mother’s situation and the older children slowly started chipping in. This turned into a bonafide business — when farming became the primary source of income and every single family member was involved.

One of the things that impresses us with Dannie, is her way to spot new opportunities, and this came in the form of fishing. With savings from farming, she purchased a boat and started selling fish with her second son; in that way, her family of seven was able to gain income from both activities.

Things slowly began to pick up but something didn’t feel quite right. Every day she would see the number of troubled youth in the streets and she wanted to find a way to help them. In that regard, Dannie has “adopted” 40 children overall — 38 boys and 2 girls, fed and clothed them, as well as ensured that they received a proper education. She is currently raising 12 boys ranging from ages 6-10.


As she is quoted: “What has kept me going is taking a young boy or girl off the streets, feed him, clothe him and allow him a second chance to finish school and then later getting a phone call from abroad saying ‘Empress I love you’.”

As a testament to this, one of the boys she raised, Deve Barbour, was recently selected to be a part of the Virgin Islands national football team, and is preparing for an upcoming football season in the U.S.

Guided by the principles of the ‘Most High’, Dannie is an illustration that “the greatness of a person is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in their integrity and ability to affect those around him positively”.

– Keithlin Caroo, Helen’s Daughters

*This is the start of #HerStory series from Helen’s Daughters. Every month, #HerStory will feature women involved in agri or agri-tourism ventures. Helen’s Daughters is a St. Lucian non-profit with a special focus on rural women’s economic development through improved market access, adaptive agricultural techniques, and capacity-building. Helen’s daughters was formed in 2016 in a winning proposal for UN Women’s Empower Women Champions for Change Program.

To learn more about the initiative, you can visit:
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/helensdaughters.slu/),
Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/helensdaughters.slu/)
Website (http://helensdaughters.org/)

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13 COMMENTS

  1. How about the empress wearing an attire that depicts her country of St Lucia? People like her and the doctrines that she follows are obsessed with other peoples' culture and traditions. She is wearing an attire that does not say anything about our lovely island. Why isn't she wearing our national dress?
    She goes on to say that she is happy when she gets a call from someone abroad. Why does it have to be from overseas? Why is St Lucians so driven by anything out of the country? Why not a call or visit from someone in the local community she has helped instead.let's talk about St Lucia for once.

    I think she has done well by the looks of it but she needs to give some credit to St Lucia more. She could start by wearing our national dress. she needs to look forward to visits and calls from people residing in St Lucia.
    She is St Lucian after all. We are always looking without instead of looking within. Otherwise, she is doing a fine job. All I am saying is that she needs to BIG UP St Lucia more. She needs to go all the way by putting St Lucia first by her actions. Her attire speaks volumes and does not portray anything about our island. I wish her success in her endeavours and may she continue to help others and may her farming and fishing continue to feed St Lucia.

    (2)(112)

    • oh my goodness !!! you had the audacity to overlook all the good that she did to publish this empty " essay " ? She assisted this young boy who is now abroad preparing for the football team and she was happy to receive that call from abroad .. what have you done to impact the lives of any st Lucian or anyone ? Give credit to st lucia for what ? I find st lucians want credit for everything even when they don't have haven't made any contribution . Keep doing what you do Cousin D I am truly Inspired .

      (33)(0)

      • Wearing St. Lucian attire alone signify anything. Most persons do on national, independence and Creole day, but how many are willing to actually help country or fellow St.Lucians. Our actions speak louder than what we wear. Too many times we judge a book by it's outward appearance. Focus on the contents. You go empress.

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    • To say you are a very negative and cynical person is an understatement. You need a meaningful life!

      (18)(0)

    • Lucian to the bone, I hope your everyday attire is the national dress. SMH.
      Just so you waste keystrokes to type that nonsense?????????????????

      (16)(0)

    • We are so quick to speak and add negativity without knowing our facts. Go read a history book. Our very ancestory is from Africa. Don't you know about the slave trade and how we came to be in St. Lucia or the various ethnic influences to our culture? At least when you come to criticize let it can be substantial. I pray you are walking the walk and talking the talk by wearing our national colors everyday.

      (2)(0)

  2. Chupz fake .. how she raising and is her mother and man wife that raising her own kids ...
    Like to take advantage of young ppl n say she hv bad boys on her side..

    (7)(13)

  3. Blessings Empress!! These are the kinds of stories we need to see more of. She turned tragedy - the loss of her husband - into triumph. Blessings upon you!

    (21)(0)

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