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Fairy godmother asks for help for the poor

Monday, December 9, 2013
Lisa Chote

It was the visible poverty in her home town of Union Village in Rio Claro that made Lisa Chote and her family start the Cinderella Project. 


The 13-year-old NGO’s main function is to supply families in need with gently used clothing, shoes and toys around Christmas time.


In a telephone interview, Chote said they collect the items and distribute them to needy families in various rural areas such as Biche, Poole Village, San Pedro and Navet. And this year, it plans to expand to the Toco area.


She started the NGO that won the 2006 First Caribbean International Bank Unsung Hero award and has helped many families through the kind and generous donations made to the organisation by the public. 


One example of the overwhelming public generosity was the 20,000 items the Cinderella Project collected in 2004. It was the most they’ve ever collected. 


This year however, Chote said the consistent generosity to which they’ve become accustomed seems to have dried up. 


The Cinderella Project collected items from just 15 people, when usually the target is to collect from at least 100.


“Donations have been very slow this year. This is very unusual. Lots of people have made promises, but the donations are just not coming through. And if it stays this way then we can only reach very few families this year. There are some places we just would not be able to go,” said Chote.


She said the drive, which begins on October 1 annually and ends on December 5, is one those in need look forward to eagerly.


“It is really an awful feeling not to be able to meet some of those needs this year, should it really remain this way,” lamented Chote.


She stressed that poverty is real in T&T and the level of poverty is worrying.


“Believe it or not, in 2013 there are kids in this country who are still going to school with rubber slippers. I met one family who lives in a cane field with no running water. In an oil economy, this is just unacceptable,” said Chote.


“I find there is a sort of immunity to need in this country. People have become so inundated with requests for help that they just don’t do anything,” she opined.


She thanked the civil and faith-based organisations and all friends who have assisted the NGO over the years, saying without them the job may not have been done efficiently and effectively.


Chote said the organisation is making an appeal to the public to step up and help it to carry out its role and function each year.


For more information on how to assist the Cinderella Project e-mail Chote at [email protected].


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