Out of adversity, cometh good
April 15, 2005
Out of adversity, cometh good

An organisation, inspired by a young Vincentian is quietly working in the United States to assist needy children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Foundation, named for the late Denniston Thomas was started in 2003 with the mission “to empower undeserved children and youth world-wide to live happy lives and become independent members of their communities”.{{more}}

The foundation, the brainchild of Danielle Pack, a former Peace Corp teacher who worked in the Marriaqua community hopes “through the implementation of youth development projects and educational scholarships… to eliminate obstacles to children and youth’s education and social development.”

To date the Foundation sponsors 25 children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These children benefit from donations made to the Denniston Thomas Foundation.

But just who was Denniston Thomas?

Denniston was a young vibrant student of the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua until he began to fall ill. When he was taken to the doctors, it was discovered he had cancer.

Danielle Pack, who had befriended the young child, recognised his plight and organised for him to be flown to the United States where he spent the last year of his life.

Unfortunately, the young man succumbed in 2003, but not before making hundreds of friends at the school in New York where he spent the last days in classroom among strangers who virtually adopted him as one of their own. He was buried in New York, with his two younger brothers attending the funeral from St. Vincent.

Their return tickets, needless to say, were sponsored by persons who were moved by this tragedy.

So moved was Pack by the plight of Denniston and the many other under-privileged children in St. Vincent that she initiated the foundation in his name to assist other needy children.

The Denniston Thomas Foundation has teamed up with Unite for Sight to work to provide educational scholarships for a large number of Liberian refugee children at Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, who are not at present receiving any education. In coordination with the local Liberian Refugee-run NGO “Self-Help Initiatives For Sustainable Development” (SHIFSD), Unite For Sight has developed a comprehensive eye health program for children and teachers in the forty-three schools at the Buduburam Refugee Camp near Accra. Volunteers are on hand to distribute eyeglasses, screen for eye disease and coordinate treatment at an eye clinic, implement eye health education programmes for children, and implement a Train-the-Trainer program for teachers in the schools. At present, there is only one health clinic with a single qualified physician for the 82,000 residents at the Buduburam Refugee Camp. Though no eye doctor is on site at Buduburam, the patients now have access to free eye care at local eye clinics with the Unite For Sight Volunteer Team currently there. Jennifer Staple, Executive Director of Unite for Sight, has expressed the great need for money to fund educational scholarships to the children to complement the work that Unite for Sight is doing.

The Denniston Thomas Foundation has a website where people can log on to find out how they can assist needy children.

Out of adversity, some good can come, with the help of everyday people.