Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 23rd 2013 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The country s adults have failed to
set good examples of proper conduct,
humility, tolerance and respect for our
children, says President Anthony Car-
"We have stumbled, and we keep on
stumbling. We have spawned a gener-
ation that is in crisis," Carmona said
on Saturday night to guests at the
launch of Children s Ark, a new non-
governmental organisation (NGO) ded-
icated to improving the lives and living
conditions of T&T s marginalised chil-
Founded by Simone de la Bastide,
the wife of former president of the
Caribbean Court of Justice Michael de
la Bastide, the organisation was
launched at an outdoor soiree at the
Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. The
decor and ambience were created by
Brian MacFarlane, and board member
Gillian Lucky greeted guests at the
entrance, cheerfully validating parking
During his speech, Carmona, patron
of the new NGO, said the country
needed to "return to basics," as the rip-
ple effects of neglected and abused
children affected society too, causing
the country as a whole to reap "the
fruits of their discontent."
Carmona said there was no nobler
cause than the one being pursued by
the Children s Ark.
"There can be no greater symbol of
protection than the ark."
During an interview, de la Bastide
said that as she researched the perfect
name for her organisation, she felt the
ark, from the biblical story of Noah s
Ark, symbolised something that rescued
"It s just hit me...So I am here now
at this launch begging for people to
come on board my ark, and help us
Lucky said the country was losing
generations, and everyone had a respon-
sibility to do something to stop that.
"I think every citizen in T&T who
can make a contribution and serve
ought to find the appropriate institution
or organisation and give back to the
country," Lucky said in an interview,
while taking cell phone numbers of
guests who pledged their support---
monetary or otherwise. Lucky and de
la Bastide said two anonymous donors
had given $20,000 each to the ark.
She explained in many instances
where children had to be removed from
their families, they would be immedi-
ately placed in foster homes, which do
not have the capacity or enough
resources to sufficiently care for them.
"You cannot use a place of refuge
without providing for the homes them-
Lucky said the ark will lobby to raise
awareness and funding from corporate
entities and governments of the day to
help children s homes.
Carmona said the ark could push
society to "bear witness to its humanity
by our actions rather than our glorious
"I am confident that the Children s
Ark will be the type of NGO that will
create a holistic environment...that will
create a citizen and a patriot that we
can all be proud of."
"An organisation formed to
specifically cater to the desperate
and dire needs of marginalised and
at-risk children, particularly the
young children and teenagers from
impoverished and crime-prone areas
in our country," de la Bastide said
during her speech.
The ark plans to assist other
registered charitable organisations
with similar goals as well.
There are two benchmark projects
The Ark will focus on: Each One
Teach One, a special school for
children from Beetham Gardens, run
by Wayne Patrick Jordan, and the
Margaret Kistow Home for Children,
a 35-year-old centre in Arima, run by
Kistow. The centre caters for
abandoned children, and has never
received assistance from the
Speaking to her guests, de la
Bastide said, "I ask that you help us,
all of you. Help us to uplift, improve,
and rescue these at-risk and
forgotten children, who desperately
We are not the heroes here in the
Children's Ark. It is people like Wayne
and Margaret who dedicate their
lives to saving forgotten youth, and
giving them a chance at life. But they
are strangled, terribly strangled by
lack of funds."
She said the ark had the ability to
raise funds to help, and that's what it
intended to do, with the help of
donations from the public.
"We are non-profit, and every
dollar that we raise will go toward
our cause, I assure you that."
She commented on the poor
system in place for addressing needs
of abandoned and abused children.
She said with over 50 children's
homes in T&T, and many of them are
also in desperate need of funding.
"The system is flawed and un-
coordinated, but hopefully the
Children's Authority Act of T&T will
correct these ills and concerns."
In an interview afterward, de la
Bastide expanded on the act, saying
its full proclamation in Parliament
was long overdue.
"The Government is just crawling
on it. This is something that is so
imperative, that is so necessary. This
should be a priority, why isn't it a
priority? You know what it is? It's all
about politics. And it's infuriating."
New NGO commits to
protect nation's children
Simone de la Bastide, president of the
Children's Ark, speaks at the launch of
the NGO on Saturday night. She urged
those attending to get involved and
help the next generation.
PHOTO: DARREN RAMPERSAD
WHAT IS THE CHILDREN'S ARK?
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