Struggling to live - Poor St Bess family seeks assistance

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April 11, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer The look on Shakera McKenzie's face is enough to tell of her plight as she sits with her three children and her brother.
Ian Allen/Photographer An open water tank in the yard where the family lives.
@Normal:The one bedroom shack that the family lives in.
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... Poor St Bess family seeks assistance

At 18, St Elizabeth native Shakera McKenzie is struggling with three children and desperately needs assistance, and more importantly meaningful advice to save herself further setback.

Her impoverished state has reached a crisis and her children, ages five years, three years and three months, and her siblings, who also live with her, need a clearer outlook on life so as to not make similar mistakes as she did.

She told THE STAR that the father for her first child is deceased. The second is not playing his role. The father for her youngest is credited with supporting his and her other children whenever he is able to do so.

They reside in Seniors Run district in Southfield in the parish. The dwelling is home to five children and two adults including her mother.

Two of the children in the household belong to McKenzie' mother, Carlene Smith.

However, they all rely heavily on Smith's mother, Carmen Copeland, 68, who lives a chain away.

Copeland, however, is in need of help herself.

"I put them here. If I could get some help to fix the tank along with some cement and a door that would be good," said Copeland, who often supplies the family with water and anything else she is able to offer.

The house has two beds, no bathroom, and no electricity.

"We need mattress, water tank, bedding and dem things deh. Mi use candle for light but mi fraid it bun down the place, so when mi phone charge, mi use the phone light because the candle nuh safe with the children," Smith said.

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Whenever it rains, the entire yard space is flooded because the house is situated directly where the water is channelled to escape.

The kids are barefooted, according to McKenzie, they play in the mud or dirt as pastimes.

Their attendance at school is nothing to be proud of as they lack almost all the essentials, clothing, bags, books, and shoes.

McKenzie told THE STAR that she always wanted to be a nurse and still has those intentions, though not clear how to make the next step. "Nobody nuh come here enuh and none of us don't work, mommy nor my sister." The sister she referred to does not live with them, but resides close by and visits when she can.

She says she welcomes any assistance for them to better themselves and live a meaningful life.

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