Father does not care. Mother does not have the capacity. Politicians have not been around. Extended family unemployed or underemployed.
One Campden Park family is rallying behind form one student Allester (Alex) Samuel who this week was bullied by his peers at the Bethel High School for turning up at the start of the new school year dressed in worn out school clothing.
His book bag which was secured by a zip only at the top, creased school uniform with a noticeable tear in the crotch area and some used school books were all that was needed for Alex to stand out and laughed at during the first week of his secondary education.
In an exclusive telephone interview with a relative of the student, BreadFruit News has learnt how entrenched poverty and concern criss-crosses in Alex’s life.
Mummy and Daddy?
Alex’s mother herself is unemployed and unable to provide the basic necessities for the 13 year old student. She has no light or running water. She has been unemployed for a very long time and has two other children including another son attending the ‘special needs school’ and a 9 month year old daughter. However, the proud mother “does not confide in anyone”, we were told.
“Dad not in the picture. She sent him to live with his dad at one point but he does not study him. People were calling to say Alex always on the street”
“His dad works at Sanitation but he does not support him. Even if he wants nothing to do with the mother, he could have come and take Alex to town and buy his school stuff but nothing at all”.
The relative told BreadFruit News that, “it is his grandmother who looks after him. She herself does not have but only love. I do some business at the road side but that is far as it goes.”
“There is no inside toilet or bathroom”.
“We took in Alex because we see the situation and we are trying with him. I can’t even help him with school work because I did not get a secondary education. I want him to get one. My son also did not reach far”.
“We are trying our best with him but I am not perfect. I don’t know much about school stuff”
Alex is the Future?
In describing Alex, she said he is just like any other child. “At times yeah he can be rude. He has disrespected me before and his mother but I have told him that he can be the one to help lift the family out of poverty that is why we want him to get an education”.
“I try to motivate him. I wish someone can take him but the mother may not agree. But he really needs help”.
Alex is said to be coping well in spite of the hardships and the rough start to the new school year.
“I ask him every day how things go at school when he gets home to make sure he is okay. He says he is okay for now and that the teasing has stopped”.
Some persons have pointed to other social factors that might also be affecting Alex. BreadFruit News is engaging with the family to signpost them to other support including counselling where required.