Our parishes continue to do the best they can for our migrant Venezuelan brothers and sisters.
At the parish of St Benedict’s RC, La Romaine their Migrant Support Group abbreviated as LARMS focuses on educating, feeding, providing care and a safe space for particularly migrant children in the area.
LARMS team member, Alan De Carries shared operations were ongoing since March 25, 2019 when they opened their doors to eleven migrant children.
Each day a hired 25-seater maxi taxi collects the children at designated locations at specific times to bring them to the learning center at the parish hall.
Carries noted, “Presently we have on roll 78 children between the ages of 4 -17, however on any given day we get approximately 45 to 55 children in attendance, with more coming daily.”
Classes are from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, where they learn English, Math, Arts and Crafts. Sports have also been instituted in the learning process as football is coached to the children attending on Fridays.
“They also have the opportunity to learn social skills and experience interaction with each other through play as we believe that play time is an important function of learning,” Carries added.
When it comes to medical attention, every other Friday a Pediatrician visits us to check on the physical health of the children since a few of them have arrived with various medical issues all of which have been resolved so far. Any medication required is sourced and provided by LARMS at no cost to the migrants. Transportation to and from doctors’ offices are also provided by LARMS’ core members.
Each week the group also prepares and distributes a care package of food and clothing to the families that are registered with us and any new families who visit.
During the period of the nationwide registration process ( May 31 – June14) the learning centre was suspended to provide an opportunity for enrolled children and their families to be registered.
However, assistance was given to all, from mother to baby as they coped with the difficulties of the registration process.
“I think these things were only made possible only through the unselfish commitment, dedication and kindness of several individuals. We were happy to see this prompted and encouraged other groups to get involved and provide similar assistance during the registration exercise” Carries said.
Though there is a lot of support, the parish worries about the sustainability of providing certain items and services. For example, the high cost to retain the maxi taxis and limited storage space at the church compound.
“When we first started, we envisaged that our enrollment capacity would be about fifteen children since at that time we had only three volunteer teachers who could not commit to being present every day. At present, we have a larger pool of volunteer teachers which enabled us to keep up with the daily increase in our enrollment but space is an issue with our current enrollment.”
In the mean time we press on in faith and with a belief that even those challenges would be eventually surmounted.