The St Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) (formally the Poverty Reduction Fund, PRF) in collaboration with Consolidated Foods Limited (CFL) is once again undertaking a Christmas relief project for approximately forty-six (46) extremely poor families in St Lucia. Dubbed “Twadisyon Noel Project” the initiative started last year when the Fund moved away from the traditional pre-packaged food hampers usually presented to families, into a system of food vouchers. These vouchers could be redeemed at any of the CFL branches in St Lucia for food and hygiene items of choice, with restrictions on items such as alcohol and tobacco products. Voucher values range from $120 to $800 depending on the number of persons in the household. SSDF believes that this is a more dignified and empowering way of assisting these poverty stricken families in this joyous season.
SSDF would like to recognize the efforts of its valuable partner, Consolidated Foods Ltd in this worthy venture, and to thank them for their tremendous assistance in the form of significant discounts on the items purchased and general support for the implementation and evaluation of the project.
Mr. Darnell Bobb, Programme Coordinator explained that the Twadisyon Noel project forms part of a wider programme of the SSDF, “Koudemein Ste. Lucie”, which seeks to alleviate extreme poverty in Saint Lucia by providing indigent families with comprehensive psycho-social support for a sustained period of time (approximately twenty-four months). The programme coordinates the efforts and resources of several already established private and public social institutions in providing the necessary assistance to these families. The hope is that through sustained interventions in areas such as health, education, skills training, employment, guidance and counselling, housing and income, these families could eventually become self sustaining and empowered to improve their financial and social status.
The pilot phase of the Koudemein Ste. Lucie programme is being implemented in the communities of Roseau (Anse la Raye), Anse La Vedure (Canaries), Malgretoute (Micoud) and Bruceville (Vieux Fort) which were identified as being among the poorest communities in Saint Lucia by the 2006 Poverty Assessment Survey. The programme will be expanded to include more communities in the future as the SSDF seeks to fulfil its overall mission of alleviating poverty in Saint Lucia.
(published by Star Newspaper)