Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 17th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, February 17, 2014
Michael Durant-Fraser, 13, was
at home when the T&T Guardian
visited Brickfield, a depressed com-
munity in Chaguanas, last week.
He was not at school because he
has never been to school.
Michael was looking after his four
younger brothers, aged eight, seven,
six and three. None of them have
ever been to school.
Home is a small structure made
of galvanised sheets in a wooded
squatter settlement in a trace off
Kali Temple Street.
Michael s mother, Winnifred
"Ann" Durant-Fraser, 38, had gone
to work with a Cepep gang in the
neighbourhood and would be home
soon, he said. His father, Louis, works
in the freezer section at a grocery
Slim and in tall boots, his mother
was soon seen walking up the trace.
Durant-Fraser said she has no
family nearby to look after the chil-
dren when she goes to work and
when Michael got older he began to
"I was living in Morvant. I moved
here in 2009 and all my family in
She said she was doing an extra
evening job, cleaning at Scotiabank
"I had to leave because it was very
difficult to get transport to come in
Durant-Fraser said the children
were sometimes left alone when she
worked the evening job. She said she
just could not afford to send the
children to school and only just start-
ed the Cepep job, but will get her
first pay soon.
In the meantime, Durant-Fraser
said she tries to teach her children
at home and Michael can read and
write "a little." She is now teaching
him to cook.
She also places serious emphasis
on teaching them manners, evident
in their behaviour. And she takes
them to the Ever Increasing Glory
church in a neighbour s house on
Thursday evenings, she said.
It was only recently that Durant-
Fraser went through the process of
getting the children s birth certifi-
cates. "I have to go and collect papers
for three of them."
About a year ago, a social worker
from the Couva Social Services
Centre intervened but, to date,
nothing has changed.
"She said she will try to get
Michael in a school like Servol when
he turns 16, because that is the entry
age. But I want him to get into a
trade school or something before.
"She said she will get three of the
other children into a primary school
in September, because this term
Durant-Fraser said people offer
assistance. "Ian Alleyne built a house
for us, but it fall down. Around
Christmas time, people come and
give us foodstuff."
Family on the edge A few miles away,
on the Orange Field
Road, is the Life Hope
Centre run by
his wife Amy and set
up in February 2012
in a neighbourhood
challenged by crime
and drug and alcohol
abuse. He said the
purpose of the centre
is to help families
who need it.
"We have a
homework centre to
help children do their
school. Some parents
have to work and
some have no
"We are teaching
some of the adults
computer literacy and
give them certificates
so they can get
better jobs. We also
offer health education
they found a high
incidence of high
blood pressure and
diabetes among both
young and old in the
area. He said the
centre also works in
outlying areas like
Michael lives, and
they want to offer as
much help as they
can to help the family
live a normal life.
Asked if state
"Many times people
That should not be
"But there are
things only the
Government can do,
like provide a food
card for the children
and help them get
"They can't say
they will take them in
the school term
already started. They
will be left behind.
They should help
them get private
Michael Durant-Fraser, back, with his three brothers and mother Winnifred
Durant-Fraser in front of their home in Kali Temple Street, Brickfield.
Pastor Clifmond Shameerudeen, his wife Amy
and son, Peter, in front of the Life Hope Centre,
Orange Field, Chase Village.
PHOTOS COURTESY LIFE HOPE CENTRE.
HOPE IS AT HAND
Boy, 13, plays dad...
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