PRESS RELEASE – As part of its mandate to empower people and communities, the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) has engaged in partnerships to transform the lives of two single mothers in the communities of Soufriere and Fond St. Jacques.
Stemming from the benevolence of the district representative for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques, Harold Dalsan, the insufferable living conditions of a single mother and eight children in the town of Soufriere have been ameliorated significantly.
The Member of Parliament (MP), who is also the minister for community empowerment, made a recommendation to the (SSDF) to provide assistance to the vulnerable family. As a result, the family was enrolled in the Koudemein Ste. Lucie programme two years ago, and has now received a new home.
“Our mission at the ministry is to redress poverty and all of the negative impacts which many of our Saint Lucian people are experiencing because they do not have the means and the capacity to do any better. Soufriere ranks third in the island’s poverty indices, and this is a situation that we have to change. If on one hand we are the mecca of tourism, then the benefits of the tourist dollar should be flowing down to the residents to alleviate their problems,” Dalsan said.
The SSDF provided building materials and partnered with the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation, which funded labour costs with profits made from tourism activities in Soufriere. Additionally, concerned teachers of the Soufriere Comprehensive School, led by Prisca Charles, applied for assistance from Courts St. Lucia to furnish the completed structure.
In a similar project of a smaller scale, a single mother from Ravine Claire in Fond St. Jacques benefited from the collaborative efforts of the SSDF and Soufriere Constituency Council, coupled with her own initiative and that of community members.
The young mother, who is enrolled in the Ministry of Social Transformation’s Public Assistance Programme, was able to acquire some building materials towards the construction of a suitable residence for her family, and was supplemented by donations.
“We are thankful to the Ministry of Social Transformation through the SSDF, as well as the MP for the area, Harold Dalsan, the Constituency Council through the Mayor Bobb, and all the people we have here working with us, as they are a very important part of this project,” Community Facilitator Dylan Alcee said.
Volunteers from the community and staff of the Ministry of Social Transformation put in the labour required to complete the structure in Ravine Claire over the course of two weekends.