We visited the St. John Bosco orphanage for boys in Plaisance this week and had a wonderful time with the boys. The orphanage is home to fifty boys ranging in age from four to sixteen and is run by the Sisters of Mercy. The primary school-aged boys go to school through common entrance at the orphanage and then move on to a private school in Georgetown to complete their secondary education. They leave St. John Bosco at sixteen and graduate to another home run by the Sisters as they transition to adulthood. There they are expected to continue their education or to find employment as they learn to be more independent under the Sisters’ watchful eyes.
The orphanage is a delight. The sisters have raised the boys with love and care and it shows. They are energetic, curious and full of fun as boys should be, but polite, disciplined and engaging as well. Most have parents which was surprising, but sadly their parents don’t visit or invite many of them home for the holidays. Of the fifty, only four had gone home for the July/August break. In most cases the mothers had brought the boys to the orphanage as they fled abusive relationships and in leaving the relationship lacked the means to care for their children. In some cases they started new relationships in which the new husband refused to care for children from the previous relationship. Whatever the reason the boys have been at the orphanage in some cases for as many as thirteen years.
During our visit we played with the younger boys and chatted with the older boys before they had lunch. After lunch we met with the secondary school boys to talk about their future plans. Like all young people they had big dreams aspiring to be doctors, lawyers, journalists and soldiers but they didn’t have a good sense of how to realize their dreams and expressed some frustration at not knowing how to make them a reality without the support most children get from their families.
We asked if they would like to have some help with career guidance and navigating the transition to higher education or the working world. They eagerly agreed suggesting Saturday afternoons after their swimming lessons as the best time. So we have started to plan and will return in a few weeks after they settle back in to school to start the process…. and to bring some face paints for the little boys who on seeing a volunteer’s lipstick asked if they could borrow some to paint their faces like Spiderman. See how you can help us to mentor these young men and other young Guyanese here or contact us for more information about how you can support St. John Bosco directly.