Stakeholders at Ray of Hope Handover Ceremony (L-R) – Dr. Carol Logie, Chairman, Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; Dr. Brian Armour, SWRHA CEO; Stuart Young MP, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Officer of the Prime Minister; Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards, Principal Medical Officer (Ag.); Michael Quamina, Chairman, Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd.; Arlene Chow, Heritage Petroleum CEO; and Lawrence Arjoon, Heroes Foundation CEO. (Image courtesy Division of Gender and Child Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister)

A COVID-19 recovery facility for children in the care of the State has been established.  “Ray of Hope” is a dedicated isolation facility—the first of its kind—in the Parallel Health Care System (PHCS), to manage the special needs of COVID-19 positive children under the care of the Children’s Authority in Community Residences. 

A release from the Division of Gender and Child Affairs explains Ray of Hope represents the collaborative efforts of several agencies, including four Ministries, four State Enterprises, 34 corporate and individual donors, and four Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The facility will be managed by the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) and was provided by Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd. and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries. 

Minister with the responsibility for Gender and Child Affairs, Alana Webster-Roy MP, says the project was executed in one month, with coordination and volunteer support from the Heroes Foundation to set up a child-friendly space and establish a learning centre that will enable children to access online schooling and digital development activities during their recovery period. 

“Ray of Hope speaks to the Government’s commitment to ensure that children in the care of the state receive the critical medical support and services needed as we continue to battle this pandemic,” Minister Webster-Roy stated in the release. 

“We are motivated by the drive and passion of youth at the Heroes Foundation to be active citizens and volunteer their time and talent to deliver a project that will benefit their peers in our country.  This facility, the collaboration during delivery, and the care to be provided by the SWRHA is a testament to our mission to work collectively to promote and ensure the positive development and well-being, best interests, and empowerment of all children,” the Minister added.

Principal Medical Officer (Ag), Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards, is Project Coordinator for Ray of Hope.

“In the midst of a devastating global health and economic crisis set against the backdrop of widening social inequity, an ‘all-hands-on-deck approach’ is imperative.  Ray of Hope exemplifies a successful model for public-private sector collaboration with the support of NGOs to address a societal challenge within a time of volatility, uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk exacerbated by diminishing resources,” Dr Abdool-Richards said.

She added: “The collaborative efforts and contributions of over $450,000 in materials and items bears powerful testimony to what can be done when united by purpose.  We continue to work towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, and 10 – Reduced Inequalities.”

Heroes Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Arjoon, noted the importance of the project to protect the nation’s children.

“Volunteerism and active citizenship are a core part of all our programmes, and our local and migrant programme participants were happy to help create a safe, positive, and engaging space for children.  They were able to learn about project management and tangibly deliver a project that is critical to the national interest. Children continue to be significantly impacted by the pandemic, and what we do today to ensure the care, protection, and development of children in Trinidad and Tobago will affect the future of our country.  From an idea sparked in November to a Christmas miracle in December, Ray of Hope is a testament to ‘Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve’, “he stated.

The Division of Gender and Child Affairs and the Heroes Foundation received support from and collaborated with the following partners for the Ray of Hope project:

Advance Foam Limited Safetec
Angostura LimitedSignway Limited
Art for UsSouth-West Regional Health Authority
Artemis Energy LtdSouthern Medical Clinic
Bhagwansingh’s Hardware LimitedSouthern Sales and Services Limited
Construction Services and Supplies LimitedStandard Distributors
Dr. Carla Noel-MendezTang Yuk Lighting
Foundation for the Enhancement and
Enrichment of Life (F.E.E.L.)
Cascadia Hotel
GESSCO Group of CompaniesChildren’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
HADCOThe Horticultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Heritage Petroleum Company LimitedThe Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries
Horizon’s Art GalleryThe Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries
Hyatt Regency HotelThe Ministry of Health
Industrial Resources LimitedThe Office Authority
Interchem LimitedThe Office of the Prime Minister
John Singh ContractorsThe Shelter
KallcoTradewinds Hotel
Kapok HotelTranscend Limited
Kenson Group  Trent Restaurants Group
La Mer Day SpaTSTT
Lt. Cmdr. Lorenzo ChariandyUnicomer Ltd
Mrs. Jacqueline QuaminaWatts Electrical 
Paria Fuel Trading Company LimitedZoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Puff n’ Stuff BakeryRafmon Marketing Limited