Building back with love for Jamaica
JUST under four months after 53-year-old Audrey Ranger’s house and belongings were destroyed by a fire that left her three children without a place to rest their heads, their fortune has changed for the better.
The family has now moved into a new house donated by Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation and Food For the Poor Jamaica (FFPJ).
Ranger was delighted to welcome the team from both organisations as they visited Hayes, Clarendon, last week to prepare the land and construct her new house.
Audrey was completely burnt out of her house in Hayes, and a few months later FFPJ reached out to share the good news that she would receive a new house.
“My living conditions were pretty stable, for the most part [as] I supported myself and my three children; we still didn’t have much but it was much better. During the fire I lost everything — all the goods I planned to sell, my personal belongings, and my children’s belongings, including their work equipment and new school supplies — so I cannot be more grateful for this great support from FFPJ and D&G,” said Ranger.
Before the fire she had made ends meet by selling clothes, cosmetics, and hair care products. She also designed, constructed, and sold cushions and pillows.
However, the fire claimed her sewing machine, leaving her without a source of income. Her sister jumped in to offer her a place to stay and whatever financial assistance she could muster.
Ranger then began to rely on her eldest son, Dillion, to support the family as best as he could.
To make matters even worse, Ranger faced several difficulties in acquiring the land title to rebuild her house.
“My mother and my stepfather owned the land I previously occupied so I needed permission from all the children to use the land. It was tough getting in contact with everyone because some died and some couldn’t be reached overseas, so that didn’t work out.
“My sister then encouraged me to use a piece of land close to her that she was also occupying, which belonged to my mom and my dad. Everyone responsible then signed off on me using that area,” said Ranger.
Having lost her goods in the fire Ranger is now unemployed but, nevetheless, motivated to find a suitable job to restart her entrepreneurial business. And she is eager to be in a better position to support her children.
Ranger is also grateful for the head start received on that journey, owing to the generosity of both charities and her relatives.
“I’m now looking to make some beds so we can move before the end of the year. Come next year I want to find a good job to help make ends meet. I don’t have one particular job in mind because I believe in honest work, and every honest job is good. As I look to improve I want to thank FFPJ and D&G Foundation for making such a big difference in our lives because we now have somewhere to call home,” added Ranger.
D&G Foundation’s collaboration with FFPJ started in 2017 with a donation of 10 housing solutions for individuals in need within the communities where the Project Grow Cassava farm operates. In July of this year the foundation contributed more than $3.8 million to create five additional houses.
Last month, D&G Foundation collaborated with the FFPJ team to construct a house for the first recipient in Cross Keys, Manchester. The foundation’s accountant, Dennis Beckford, said that experience was immensely rewarding, prompting its decision to actively participate in every step of the construction process for Ranger.
“I am thankful that our teams could work together and make a difference in this way, and we look forward to continuing our work with FFPJ,” said Beckford.
He said as a testament to the foundation’s ongoing commitment, the remaining three houses will be donated early in 2024.