Trinidad: Boy found in ‘duck pen’ squalor…goes to school

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – THE 16-year-old boy from Tabaquite who was rescued last year from a life of squalor and abuse, went to school on Monday.

It was his first time at a learning institution since pre-school. He has been enrolled at the National Centre for People with Disabilities (NCPD).

The boy’s caretaker, who asked not to be named, said he will attended classes twice for the week, and it was an emotional day for both of them.

“He was very happy to be dressed in his uniform. When I dropped him off, he cried a little and I know it was because he was a little scared about going to school. It was very emotional for both of us but I am happy that he is finally getting an education.

For all this time he did not go to school and now he will have that chance,” she said.

Speaking on his first day’s experience, the woman said he has made two friends from school.

“I was very excited in telling me about his first day. He even made two new friends. I am so overjoyed that he has this opportunity. It will take some time and my family and I will be patient with him. he has gone through so much under her (the relative’s) care and now he is getting a chance at life,” she said.

The woman said she tried to teach him the basics of learning to count and write. She said the school will conduct a better assessment of his skills and of his learning capabilities before he can attend classes on a regular basis.

The boy’s story was first highlighted by a neighbour on social media when she intervened after the boy was found to be abused by relatives.

The teenager was found to be sleeping near a duck pen and on the day he was removed from the home. There was a gash across the hand.

The Children’s Authority took custody of the boy and conducted an assessment of his condition. A suitable home was found for him.

The caretaker said the Children’s Authority is working closely with her in providing assistance for the teen.

She said he will be receiving counselling as he has endured much in his life.

She said: “He will be going to counselling. He is no trouble at all. I understand how he behaves and the Children’s Authority is helping us.”

Chairman for the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin said that though children may come from difficulties conditions, they are resilient and through proper care, love and attention they will thrive.

“What this (the teenager attending school) means I that even though children go through difficulties, they are resilient. What we have to do is create the proper social environment to harness this resiliency and the result is this as we see today with him. we will continue to work with the family, the partners and various organisation as is our mandate.”

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