The Holistic Opportunity for Personal Empowerment (HOPE) Project is infusing optimism into the inner-city through several projects to restore the physical surroundings, improve the health of residents and build their confidence, pride and self-reliance.
This is in keeping with HOPE’s mandate to reduce unemployment in the short and long term through varied and continuous projects; to provide life skills and occupational training; and promote healthy lifestyles practices. HOPE, a major component of the Social Safety Net implemented by the Government of Saint Lucia, operates through the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF).
Over the past eight weeks, a crew of twenty (20) workers have completed ten assignments to upgrade infrastructure in the neighbourhoods of Rose Hill and Wilton’s Yard.
One of the more significant projects is the resurfacing of a basketball court in Wilton’s Yard. Reopening the court to residents will serve as a buffer against negative influences and actions by providing an outlet for youthful energy.
The crew also engaged in a major clean-up of the remains of three burnt houses. Loads of garbage had accumulated in the area, resulting in a serious health and safety hazard.
The health of residents has been further safeguarded with the reconstruction of several gutters where holes in the concrete served as homes for disease carrying rodents.
Workers have concreted several drains in both Rose Hill and Wilton’s Yard, protecting public and private property from continued water damage.
The ongoing construction work is also building capacity by engaging and training unskilled persons from the community. Experienced masons, steel workers and other skilled artisans provide on-the-job training to equip these individuals to source and secure employment in the future.
The contractor in charge of the project, Peter Reynolds assures that, “The quality of work is more than excellent because I have ended up with some of the best masons. Everybody is intent on taking the opportunity to learn from them.”
The workers have so far met all the deadlines they have been set. Work on similar infrastructural projects continues over the next four months.
The Holistic Opportunity for Personal Empowerment (HOPE) project is a major component of the Social Safety Net Initiative implemented by the Government of Saint Lucia. HOPE is not welfare oriented but addresses the immediate needs of the targeted group(s) while equipping them with resources to secure and create more sustainable livelihood opportunities.
HOPE is designed to reduce unemployment in the short term and create a cyclical effect for continued employment via varied and continued projects; provide training at various levels; provide life skills training; improve and promote healthy lifestyles practices.
HOPE is administered through the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF; an amalgamation of the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) and the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF). The core mandate of the SSDF is to ensure the delivery of basic services to disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Saint Lucia. SSDF is funded by regional and international agencies.