Home for the elderly to get help

February 01, 2017
Patrice Smith-Sterling (right), Social Enterprise Special Projects Programme Manager at the Digicel Foundation, is assisted by Lloyd Ferguson (centre), Manager of the Eira Schader Home, and a volunteer in planting some of the seedlings donated by the Digicel Foundation.
Patrice Smith-Sterling, Social Enterprise Special Projects Programme Manager at the Digicel Foundation, presents a batch of vegetable seedlings to Lloyd Ferguson (right), Manager of the Eira Schader Home and Debbie Dunn-Ferguson, COO of the Agency for Inner City Renewal during a visit to the home recently.
Volunteers from Victoria Mutual Building Society painting a wall at the Eira Schader Home for the Aged on Upper First Street in Trench Town last year.

Way back in 1978, Bob Marley, Lloyd Ferguson, and Tappa Zukie came up with the concept of building a home for the elderly in Trench Town, St Andrew.

Political violence was rearing its ugly head in the tough concrete jungle, and according to Ferguson, he and his friends were heartbroken by the fact that persons were relocating to other communities and the elderly were being left behind.

"We were just trying to reach out to elderly people here in the community and elsewhere who couldn't help themselves," Ferguson, manager of the home, told THE STAR.

Seven residents now live at the home, which is in need of infrastructural upgrades and other support.

"A nuff fix up this want," Ferguson said. "This home is ever in need of any help we can get from corporate Jamaica,"

Ferguson recalled that Bob Marley was passionate about the home, but his death in 1981 meant he would not see it take shape.

However, with the untimely demise of the reggae legend, a group of Swiss, who were in Jamaica, took an interest in Trench Town. They raised thousands of dollars in Switzerland, which they sent back to Jamaica. The money was used to set up the Eira Schader Home for the Aged.

He said that the home now gets funding through the Bob Marley Foundation to the tune of $34,000 per month, which in insufficient to pay bills at the facility.

"We never really go out and ask anybody to help us because a we deal with it and keep it alive," said Ferguson, who adds that employees at the facility work for meagre wages.

"This was Bob's dream. I just sorry say Bob gone," Ferguson said, noting that the home has been in operation since 1986.

The Eira Schader Home will be the beneficiary of funds collected from the sale of VIP tickets at this year's staging of Redemption Live. The concert, which is free to the public, is being held in honour of reggae icon Bob Marley. VIP tickets will also be on sale for $4,000 each.

Just recently, Digicel Foundation joined forces with the home in an attempt to further develop a vegetable garden.

"We've also chosen to work with them to create a vegetable garden, and we've gone even further to connect them with representatives from RADA to ensure the activity can be sustained. This gives the residents an opportunity to enjoy a farm-to-table experience while spending quality time outdoors," said Patrice Smith-Sterling, social enterprise and special projects manager at the Digicel Foundation.

Ferguson said that he welcomes any assistance that is now being provided. He added that if the home is repaired, it may be able to accommodate about 20 senior citizens.

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