FREEPORT, BAHAMAS — The Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH) is making progress in building back better after Hurricane Dorian thanks to a group of donors, the home said in a statement yesterday.
“The Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH) has had two very busy, challenging years — beginning with rebuilding the homes that house their children, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, with the Grand Bahama Port Authority, followed by the global COVID pandemic that brought delays in the rebuild and in the return of the children,” the statement read.
“These challenges, of course, have brought significant financial strain and concern, necessitating a re-evaluation of what survival looks like for the Home in a post-Dorian and COVID world. Thankfully, donor groups have shown a tremendous interest in the Home — not only in our rebuilding efforts but in assisting the Home by providing new buildings and vehicles, staff training and a full-time therapy program, and helping establish a network to build sustainability in uncertain times.”
SBP, an NGO, has also been assisting the Home with charity development support, generating GoFundMe donations and other support among its network, site inspections and, just last month, donating a minivan to the Home as well.
SBP recognized an opportunity to help the Home with similarly aligned benefactors and, in turn, introduced the board to Kate Rose, chairman of the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation (KJRF), who wanted to impact the lives of the home’s children with therapy and support — something the board had wanted for many years.
The KJRF fundraised over $700,000 earmarked to fund and develop a therapy program, to run over a five-year projected schedule with an onsite therapist, along with a staff training program, for the 40-year-old facility.
It was via this connection with the Roses in The Bahamas that the third donor, the One Bahamas Fund, joined the team and immediately bridged a funding gap to speed up the rebuild as well as finance the construction, by Spartan Builders, of a much-needed separate laundry and storage facility, due to be completed by Christmas 2020. In addition, SBP has stepped in to provide walk-in refrigeration and industrial laundry facilities and replace the generator lost in Dorian. This all will help the Home more efficiently operate and manage inventory at the same time.
According to a statement by the Home, the One Bahamas Fund gave a “committed donation of $300k”, has purchased a new bus for the Home and is slated to build a new therapy building in the new year. This addition is expected to be a great relief to both the government of The Bahamas and the board, who are expecting to house more children at the Home, which takes care of children, who are wards of the government, from Abaco, Bimini, and Grand Bahama.
GBCH Treasurer and Board Director Jean Hivert said, “If you can say there is a blessing from Dorian, these donors would be it for us. Funding has always been a major challenge for the Home and, after Dorian, we knew we would need more help.
“This, of course, has been made all the more the case with COVID — these are very difficult times for everyone.”