An organization which is aimed at providing assistance and support to vulnerable youth in the south of the island has been launched.
The Jermain Defoe Foundation, named after English Premier League player Jermaine Defoe, who is of St Lucian parentage, was officially launched on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.
Vieux Fort Parliamentary Representative and Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has endorsed the organization and also promised government’s full support.
Among its more immediate plans, the Jermain Defoe Foundation will see to the construction of a shelter for vulnerable children and the establishment of a football academy for the youth of the south.
“I am aware that the Foundation’s first initiative will be to assist a local group in Vieux Fort to work on a shelter for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, many of whom are victims of abuse. I pledge my support for this initiative and look forward to a full briefing on the project and to receive a request for assistance from government,” Dr Anthony said as he presented a speech at Wednesday’s launch.
He added: “…A football academy will be launched and located in Vieux Fort. What is even more appealing about the Academy is that it won’t be just a football programme but will also involve a physical facility of international standard built right here in Vieux Fort. I am sure thousands of young boys and girls will be excited about this proposal.”
Dr. Anthony said he sees the Foundation as a natural complement to the shelter for disadvantaged children. He is particularly pleased that the organization will not only care for youngsters who have “fallen through the cracks” but also provide them an opportunity to develop their skills and pursue careers in football.
“The government stands ready to assist,” he reiterated, while acknowledging that “extraordinarily hard times” had diminished government resources.
“But government support does not have to be only in the form of financing. There are many other ways in which we can work together to make this project successful,” he assured.
Dr Anthony said his administration is willing to lease a piece of land in Vieux Fort to facilitate the erection of the football facility.
He took the opportunity to express gratitude to Defoe, his mother, and all who helped make the foundation possible.
Dr Anthony described Defoe as a dedicated St Lucian who has given St Lucia much support over the years.