A St Michael mother is appealing to the public for help with feeding, clothing and providing a better shelter for her eight children. Harriett Hackett, 44, is struggling even to send them to school.
And mum and children are forced to live in a house at Mayers Road, My Lord’s Hill, St Michael, that is in dire need of repairs, leaving them exposed to the elements –– and rodents. In a home that is lacking proper furniture, some of the children must sleep on sponge laid out on the floor of a clustered bedroom.
The bathroom and toilet, situated outdoors, are also in horrible condition.
Hackett said sometimes her light and water were turned off because she was unable to pay the utility bills.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited the home yesterday afternoon, the sight of the house was heart-rending. Hackett’s cry that she was facing hardships and needed help was evident.
The mother, whose eldest child is 20 years old and youngest, five, said she loved her offspring, and that she did the very best she could to support them, with the limited assistance she got from the Welfare Department, from her own mother, and others who would sometimes lend a hand.
The unemployed mum said that though she was relentlessly trying to find a job, she had not worked “in years”. Hackett said she would gratefully accept a job offer, because she “can work”.
But the reality is Hackett’s appeal needs to be answered. And the mother is not unmindful that there are others like her “out there” living in similar conditions with the very same challenges.
“I try to do what I can do for my children. I do the best that I could; send them to school to learn and get a good education and make something out of themselves.
“But sometimes it does be hard for me to even give them something to eat. Sunday, I didn’t have anything;
and I had to send to my mother for things.
“Look, them coming home from school now and I have to see what is there to give them,” Hackett said as she watched four of her wards –– two girls and two boys –– run in.
She said beds, food items and repairs to the house were among her most immediate needs.
“Most of the times when [the chidren] go to school, the teachers tell them that they smell stink. Sometimes they come home and tell me, and say that they don’t want to go back to school at all . . . . I just need some help,” Hackett pleaded.
The mother claimed that she had approached the former Member of Parliament for her area on her plight, but she had never got a response.