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May 7, 2014
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May Pen Market fire victims get help
Horace Fisher, Star Writer

Cookshop operator Wayne Gentles, shoemaker George Scott and dressmaker Reneta Gordon shed tears following the destruction of their businesses at the May Pen Market fire in March.

However, the three victims of the fire shed tears of joy Monday after receiving grants from the Jamaica Association for Microfinance Limited in a ceremony at the Clarendon Parish Council.

"Since the fire, we have been down, but obviously not out. Today, we have an opportunity to, as they say, find another gear. This grant will enable us to dig deeper in our quest to rebuild our lives," declared an emotionally charged Wayne Gentles in response to the microfinance grants.

Gentles, who operated a vegetarian cookshop in the market prior to the devastating inferno, said he lost approximately $200,000 worth in pots, pans refrigerator, and perishable goods in the blaze, and since, has been out of business.

Microfinance

"The fire leaves us with nothing, and today we are getting something to restart. Thank you Microfinance, thank you for looking out for us," the delighted Rastafarian chef said.

Chairman of the Jamaica Association for Microfinance, Dr Blossom O' Meally Nelson, said she became interested in assisting the victims after a newscast reported the fire back in March, and she is hoping that there will be other opportunities for collaboration.

"I remember coming home from work and there was this newscast about the May Pen Market fire, and there was this young lady who was a student. She had lost everything to the fire and was pondering her future educationally and otherwise," O'Meally Nelson.

The fire destroyed 66 shops.

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