AS 2023 approaches, Delesa Henry, a 30-year-old mother of five, is wishing for a full turnaround in her life, sharing that poverty has made her wiser and that she now knows that a culinary arts career is the direction her life should go.
“Sometimes I feel I should go to HEART/NSTA Trust. Since I am big enough now and more mature with likkle more sense, I believe say I should go back to school. I like to cook and I always have the ability to sell food. I can even end up working on ships and in a good job where I get a good pay. I tried to get myself into HEART before but it didn’t work out. I am ready now,” the Central Kingston resident told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.
According to Henry, as a young teen, she lacked strong parental guidance and on top of that her family faced hardship. The 30-year-old said she became pregnant at age 14 and had her first child at age 15.
“I passed for Bridgeport High School but my mother couldn’t pay the school fee so she sent me to John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School and dem tek me in because she is a past student. Dem see wid har and mek mi go the school.
“When me get pregnant with the first one, we did a go court and then the court finish. I am not blaming my mother for all of my problems, but she used to put me out all the time and mi affi a box all around. It was during that time I got the rest of the children,” she said, adding that the fathers for two of her children are dead, while one is currently incarcerated.
“The father of my last son is around. One of them was shot and another one was sick and died in hospital. My first son’s father, when we did a go court, he skipped the court and warrant was out for him. He was supposed to do a DNA test,” she explained.
Now a mother of five, Henry and all her children sleep on one bed in one-bedroom board house. The room also serves as the family’s kitchen.
Henry emphasised that she is desperate to rise above her impoverished circumstances and to silence the tongues of people who have ridiculed because she cried out publicly for help.
“My children are ages 15, 13, 10, seven and three. Mi naa work now. I was doing bar work and because the community weh mi live, it bad. There is lots of war and house a bun dung. Mi end up have to stay home and see seh everything alright. The hours I leave the bar work, I couldn’t work with it.
“Sometimes mi not even have lunch money fi send di children go school. Sometimes I have to send them without lunch money. Sometimes I can’t find food but I have good friends who will help me out at times.
“My living conditions are deplorable. The people in the community tease me. They drop a lot of words and I don’t really like it. I stop taking things from certain people in the community because when you take it, they disrespect you. I prefer to get help from a stranger who don’t know me.”
Crowd funding/charity organisation realhelpinghands.com has already began to seek assistance for Henry through a crowd funding account so she can take care of her family’s daily needs.
People wishing to donate to the family may visit https://realhelpinghands.com/campaign/single-mother-with-5-kids-needs-your-help-providing-for-her-family/.
Chief operations officer of realhelpinghands.com, Oliver Toth, made a pledge on Wednesday that he will introduce her to a culinary centre where she can receive training and certification.
“We could get her certification in all types of different employment opportunities, like practical nursing, culinary food preparation, cooking, anything like that, we already have connections with a human resource centre with good canteen facilities. She could get hands on training. We could house her there, feed her there and get her certified. We could help her locate some work in Kingston.”