Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 15th 2017 Contents life
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YUP to the rescue...
A comfortable home for the Sealeys
ust over 13 years after
moving into a house in
El Socorro, Liza Mackel-
lan-Sealey and her family
of seven are finally going
to turn it into a home.
The poorly-maintained concrete
structure, which has neither a proper
bathroom or a kitchen with running
water, was once part of Mackel-
In 2003, she moved with her hus-
band and five children to the area, full
of excitement and plans for her family.
She and her husband planned to
turn the modest structure, consist-
ing of two bedrooms, a dining room
and a kitchen, into a four-bedroom
home for their family.
It wasn’t long before their grand
plans were delayed indefinitely.
However, due to the intervention
of a group of people led by entrep-
eneur Shaheed Abdullah, the family
said their prayers have been answered.
Her husband had secured financing
to purchase their first home and would
turn renovations of the two-bedroom
somewhat dilapidated structure into
a project for the family.
Shortly after moving, Mackel-
lan-Sealey’s husband was diagnosed
with paranoid schizophrenia. A few
years later, he suffered a stroke.
Recently, he started exhibiting
signs of Alzheimers disease, mem-
ories disappearing, and mixing up
his children’s names with his sisters.
“Things went haywire. The chil-
dren and I tried to do some of the fix-
it work but we didn’t know what we
were doing so we ended up putting
up bricks and stuff ourselves but all
had to come down,” said Mackel-
“We had planned to fix it but when I
had the money, no one wanted to come
in the back here.”
Plans for Mackellan-Sealey fre-
quently started to go awry.
“There were termites in the place
and it started falling apart.”
She said she attempted to get work-
ers to come to her home to do work,
but they would see the area and then
they wouldn’t come back.
The family, who did not want to be
photographed, lives on Ramjass Trace
in San Juan.
To get there you have to pass
through an empty lot, cross a make-
shift bridge and walk through a dirt
track with dogs barking aggressively
on either side.
The family was contacted last
month by YUP (Young Urban Pro-
fessionals) entertainment, an events
planning company started three years
ago by a group of young people in their
According to the company’s CEO
Shaheed Abdullah, the group is known
for throwing parties and partying.
“Besides that we are all about doing
positive things and earlier this year,
we decided we wanted to get involved
in charitable projects.” Abdullah said
while sitting on an empty bucket at
the work site where two rooms, a
kitchen and a bathroom were being
added to the house.
“We decided as a group that we
wanted to make an impact and not
just give a family groceries where in a
week’s time it would go back to square
one, we wanted to do something that
“When we had the discussion we
realised that there are families out
there who would need help with their
They raised money by reaching out
to people in their peer groups, walking
with donation sheets and collecting
Some companies sponsored plumb-
ing, windows and electrical work.
The major structure, decking and
plastering were done by regular people
who donated their time and money.
When the group contacted Mackel-
lan-Sealey, they asked her which three
things she wanted done.
“I told them I wanted the front
step, the kitchen and the bathroom
done. We have no water in the kitch-
en now and we don’t have a working
Instead of just fixing the kitchen,
the group decided to move the kitch-
en to another space, build and extra
bedroom and a working bathroom.
“I believe it is a blessing directly
from the heavenly father. I prayed
for this constantly. It is an answer to
many, many prayers.”
She said the group had already made
“Having the kitchen moved means
we will be able to have a living room.
We will have the extra room so one of
the children will have another room.”
Abdullah said: “Hopefully next year
we can do two houses. It was good to
see the people who came forward and
“Over $50,000 in materials was
needed and we started by asking for
a minimum of $100. We just want-
ed to help. The main thing is to get
young people involved in doing pos-
itive stuff and highlighting the stuff
that is positive that young people do.”
Abdullah said he felt awesome being
able to help.
“I grew up in similar or worse con-
ditions, in a one room with an out-
house with five of us.
“It was personal for me because I
felt their pain, you want to do better
for yourself but the means and get-
ting to do it is a bit daunting so when
you have the opportunity you try and
Entrepreneur Shaheed Abdullah. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
YUP committee member Kevon Garcia applies a coat of paint, as part of home repairs for the Sealy family.
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