For many parents, it’s challenging to provide for one child. Thirty-three-year-old Crystal Charles has nine children, five of whom are in school. Providing electronic devices for them to access their education in the new school term is therefore a tough prospect for Charles.
Her mother assists her in caring for the children while her stepfather is the sole breadwinner.
The family receives no social grants and no financial assistance from the fathers of the children. The children range in ages from 17 years to eleven months. The four youngest are two sets of twins. Two of the children attend the St John’s Anglican School, two attend a private kindergarten school, another attends a special school while the oldest girl attends Barrackpore ASJA Girls.
Speaking at their Princes Town home while breastfeeding one of the babies yesterday, Charles said her oldest daughter has been receiving work from her school but she has received no word from the other schools.
“We don’t have no laptop or anything but a friend said they will try to help us get a laptop,” said grandmother Dianne Deoraj, 50.
They applied for a food card but were unsuccessful.
Charles said, “We try to apply but we never get through with the food card. Sometimes I have issues getting things for them to eat but I don’t go and beg nobody. Whatever it have to cook I does make it nuff and I cook and make it for them to eat. They don’t go hungry at all. They like macaroni, they like chips, they like chicken, they like hotdog and bread.”
But she said they need clothes and shoes. Charles said she tries to stretch the little she has to maintain her children.
“I don’t get no assistance from the children’s fathers. I just struggle all alone with my nine children. My stepfather does help me and my mother does help me with them too.”
She survived an abusive relationship and noted her abuser still harasses her family.
“I am afraid to leave the house because of him. I afraid he attack me. He used to beat me plenty and drag me, burn me with cigarette and take advantage of me,” she said.
Although they have not applied for a government house, she is hoping they could find a home where the rent or mortgage is affordable. Their rent is currently $2,500 a month.
“We really need a house of our own. Rent is be hard to pay.” Asked if it was her intention to have so many children, she said, “Not really but God give me them so I can’t neglect them. I have to keep my nine children with me.”
Due to the circumstances, she said her eldest child has since dropped out of school and found a job. Anyone willing to assist the family could contact them on 470-0145.