ST. JOHNS–White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) will have a busy year this year.
In addition to taking care of its clients, WYCCF will be actively involved in coordinating the repair of 45 homes of its clients and an accompanying training programme. The home repair project is one of the three from the Foundation that were approved for financing from the early recovery funds being provided by the Dutch Government.
The 45 persons whose homes will be repaired are WYCCF clients from St. Martin’s Home and Sister Basilia Centre Day Care who own their own homes, WYCCF official Bregje Boetekees told The Daily Herald on Tuesday.
“We have received approval for three projects,” she said, noting that only two had been highlighted in a press release earlier this month. She said WYCCF had already repaired three homes with private donations it had received and it is currently conducting full damage assessments to get pricing for materials and labour per home to be repaired under the project.
As a spinoff from the home repair project, WYCCF decided to retrain young adults and persons who have become unemployed since Hurricane Irma to work in the construction field. “We are exploring partnerships with both National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) and School Board for Secondary Education SVOBE and have a curriculum for Level 1 construction assistant basically finalised,” Boetekees said.
Students who participate in the programme will receive practical experience by participating in the repairs of the WYCCF home repair project.
“We expect to kick off the 45 homes by February 1 and to host the first construction trainees on sites by the middle of February. We aim to repair nine homes monthly and to be finished by June 30. All are clients in our care who own their home and reside in it,” she explained.
Boetekees said as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is “deeply committed to St. Maarten and its residents,” WYCCF thinks education is vital and even though construction is not its core activity, “we believe the combination with the home repair programme can really work.”
“We are in talks with several contractors and will make offering students training possibilities part of the repair programme. So, any contractor that repairs homes for our WYCCF repair programme will take students in to train in addition to the theoretical and practical hours they will get in school,” she explained.
WYCCF hopes to train a total of 50 persons as level one basic construction workers or health care assistants, a third project for which it was approved, in the next six months. Courses and internships will be organised in collaboration with the Department of Labour Affairs and Social Services.
Further partnerships are being explored and will be worked out with partners. A registration drive was held last week and candidates shortlisted will participate in an information session this week.
The training will be a combination of theory and hands-on (approximately 20-80 per cent) and will start as a full-time programme that will be closed off on June 29. Participants successfully attending the programme and meeting requirements will receive a monthly stipend. After successful completion they will obtain a level one vocational certificate issued by NIPA/SVOBE or St. Maarten Medical Center (for the health care assistant course).
Boetekees said the three projects depict “an excellent collaboration” between public and private parties. She said the Department of Social Services and Labour has been helpful in the candidate registration process and will play an active role in the course curriculum by training candidates on social skills and employability.
The three WYCCF projects are part of the early recovery projects financed from the Dutch Recovery Fund for Sint Maarten, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations. Seven million euros was made available for projects, that will have a direct positive impact on the population of Sint Maarten.
In addition to these projects, WYCCF has big plans for this year. Boetekees said WYCCF hopes to open its new elderly care home this year, resulting in 36-bed capacity instead of the current 21. It also hopes to expand its nursing home from 44 to 54 beds, to open the first Hospice in St. Maarten, to double its rehabilitation centre from four to eight beds, relocate its psycho-geriatric day care to a new ground-floor location at St Martin’s Home and expand its Sister Basilia Centre Day Care from 45 to 65 clients.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72808-wyccf-to-repair-45-clients-homes-by-july