JHTA responds to children's villages' call for financial support

Observer West writer

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has answered the call for financial support from SOS Children's Villages to keep its facilities in Barrett Town, St James, and Stony Hill, St Andrew, afloat, pledging $500,000.

JHTA president Omar Robinson in stressing that his organisation is committed to the SOS Children's Village, urged other organisations and individuals to support the SOS's fund-raising efforts.

“I want everybody who is here today [Tuesday] to help the SOS, to join the SOS in their 'Say yes to SOS campaign',” Robinson urged.

“We are committed at the JHTA to SOS and we want a lot more people to get on board as we say 'Yes to SOS'.”

Robinson was speaking at the SOS Children's Villages Jamaica #SayYesToSOS corporate fund-raising breakfast at the S Hotel in Montego Bay on Tuesday.

Earlier, Ray Gregory, the interim national director of SOS Children's Villages told the gathering that the facilities will have to become self-sufficient by 2022, adding that the SOS's donor stock is falling in Europe.

“People aren't giving as much as they use to before. People are growing older while the younger ones are…so our reserves internationally have gone down to pretty much non-existence. And we [Jamaica] being in the Americas are considered rich,” stated Gregory.

“Jamaica is a rich country. We are doing better economically over the past couple years, but we are not necessarily a giving country. And, that is the truth of it, and that is the bigger concern that we have why we want to be out there now.”

It takes roughly $265 million annually to run both programmes in Stony Hill and Barrett Town.

At present, some 62 per cent of the institutions' budget is met from international donors, while 10 per cent comes from local fund-raising efforts, while 22 per cent is derived from government subsidies through the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

Other local income sources provide the remainder of the budget.

Administrative costs alone account for 20 per cent of the institution's budget, while it takes $1.5 million annually to support a child at the village.

Gregory said the institution which has 66 staff members will have to raise $164 million locally for 2020 to survive.

Robinson noted that the JHTA has a long history of support to the SOS Village.

“The JHTA has had a long association with the SOS Village, which we applaud for the work they do in providing protection in a nurturing and family environment for children. In fact, the JHTA Montego Bay chapter has adopted house # 10 at the SOS Village in Barrett Town where we are supporting ongoing renovations and general upkeep, and we are currently preparing to host our annual Christmas treat,” disclosed Robinson.

“Just yesterday [Monday], the Montego Bay chapter placed an order for new mattresses and a washing machine for its house at Barrett Town at a value of close to $300,000. In addition, some of our member hotels continue to provide some internships for teenagers, preparing them for work life.”

During the fund-raising breakfast a number of companies and entities including Sagicor, Rose Hall Developments Ltd, Montego Bay City Run, Sam The Blindman, Peir 1 and the Montego Bay Convention Centre, pledged donations and/or sponsorship of a child.

Half Moon Hotel, which in the 1970s partnered with SOS International to establish the facility in Barrett Town by constructing a four-bedroom house on lands donated by late businessman John Rollins, has promised to continue its support.

SOS Jamaica is a private, non-governmental social development organisation founded in 1970 that works with children who have lost parental care under a rights-based approach as defined by the International Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Child Care and Protection Act of Jamaica.

The SOS Children's Villages International (SOS Kinderdorf International) is the umbrella organisation to which all national SOS Children's Villages Associations in 135 countries are affiliated.

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