Concerns expressed over fate of Genesis Home
Stabroek News
May 19, 2002

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Concerns have been expressed about the fate of the Genesis Home for battered women and the future use of the home's facilities.

The Genesis Home had suspended its operations on June 1, 2001, following discussions with former minister of Human Services and Social Security, Indra Chandarpal, to facilitate a changeover in the ownership and management of the home from a non-governmental organisation to government.

The home had been operated as a non-profit organisation and was run by an administrator, who was accountable to a board of directors. The last administrator of the Genesis Home, Carmelite nun Sister Jacintha had told Stabroek News that the board had taken a collective decision in August 2000 to ask government to take over the project after the major sources of funding had dried up.

Persons closely connected with the project are concerned that now, one year after, they are being told that the home might no longer be used as a shelter for battered women, but as a hospice for persons living with AIDS.

They said that a shelter for women and girls was needed as much as a hospice for persons living with HIV or AIDS. Handing over the home for this purpose, they said, would be defeating the purpose for which it was built. Stabroek News learnt from reliable sources that the Genesis Home would not be run by government but would be handed over to a non-governmental organisation. Stabroek News was yesterday unable to confirm this report as Minister within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security Bibi Shadick or the Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Mitra Ally were not available for comment.

Earlier in the year, Shadick had told Stabroek News that since the Genesis Home had been operated by a non-governmental organisation the legal process had been underway for the government to acquire the home.

Provision had been made in this year's budget for the management of the facility, which has been in operation for the past two years. She had said that while it was in operation government had provided a subvention to aid in the running of the home.

It had been expected that after the budget debate and considerations of the estimates, the home would have been reopened under government management.

The Genesis Home was built with funding from the disbanded Futures Fund, which was supported by the Canadian and British governments and had received aid from Food For the Poor and the Franciscan Sisters. (Miranda La Rose)