Help on the way for learning disabled adults on Brac

| 03/06/2011

(CNS): A new non-profit organization is aiming to raise $150,000 by 1 September in order to provide a place for learning disabled adults on Cayman Brac to socialize during the day and learn life skills to make them more independent of their caregivers. The Harmony Learning Centre already has government permission to use the Creek Youth Centre to begin operations, but organizers are also hoping that once established they will raise enough funds within three years for a purpose built residence and community centre for those who need it on the island. Angela Fawkes, one of the founders of Harmony, says there are about 28 learning disabled adults on Cayman Brac and Harmony will be able to provide help initially for up to around eight clients

The HLC will offer a recognised curriculum through the charitable organization ASDAN to give them lessons in such activities as arts and crafts, baking, growing fruit and vegetables, selling and raising chickens and raising eggs.

The inspiration for the centre, Fawkes said, is her sister, 52-year-old Paula Malone (above), a high functioning disabled person who has been through these courses in Canada and not only benefited greatly but also very much enjoyed taking them. While the project is ambitious, Fawkes has confidence that they can raise sufficient funding to make the day centre a reality. “By the grace of God this is going to happen,” she said.

The registered non-profit organization has already received a donation of $10,000 from another charity, IamCo, which is based in Grand Cayman and helped rebuild East End after Hurricane Ivan. However, much more is needed to provide sufficient funds for a full time director and an assistant, as well as money to pay for the courses, to start the programme off.

While the aim of Harmony is to assist the learning disabled on the road to more independence,Fawkes said that the project will also provide support for their caregivers too, many of whom are elderly parents who currentlyreceive no help from the government in regards to ongoing education for those in their care once an individual has graduated from high school. The curriculum offered will be tailored to the needs of each individual to help them reach their potential, become more self-sufficient and will even assist with job placement for those who are able.

Fawkes and her fellow organizers have had help and advice on this project from Roberta Gordon, director of Sunrise Learning Centre in Grand Cayman, and she said they are grateful to government for giving them permission to begin operations in the youth centre. However, they are looking at this as the first step towards what is actually needed, which is a built-to-purpose facility that provides a residential home for our clients that need one as well as a day programme, with a zero entry pool among other features, and staff that includes a speech therapist and a physiotherapist.

Harmony Learning Centre founders are Angela Fawkes, Linda Kilby, Sharon Thompson, Greg Lipton, Dot Japal and Laura Brandon, and more information about the NGO can be found at or by emailing

Donations can be deposited to CNB, account Harmony Learning Centre, CI Savings 012-38044 and US Savings 022-24045.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The negative posters on this article should be ashamed and the positive credited as normal good thinking people. It is not the handicapped people (any I know of) who is going around drinking alcohol, smoking, using illegal drugs and committing crimes. The criminals are the ones who is so much cost and problems to government, not the poor handicapped people.

    This project is practically a cost free project to government according to the article, and the people responsible for this organization should be praised for trying to help the handicapped.

    May God help them to succeed with this endeavour.


  2. Kung Fu Iguana says:

    Why doesn't the government build a $8,850,000 shelter on the Brac and fund this worthy cause directly? 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Friday; 9:26

    Words cannot describe the person that you are.  Totally unbeliveable.  I really hope that you don't live in the Cayman Islands.

    This is a wonderful thing and I hope that they succeed. This is very important that they can take care of themselves and be self-sufficient. 

  4. Swine says:

    Our current government leaders should be obligated to participate in this program….

    • Anonymous says:

      Let Government use the 80 suite hurricane shelter that they are building, to house the students.  that makes more sense to me.

  5. anonymous says:

    Government could focus on helping the schools by lowering the cost of books and ensure teachers are paid properly. Also, help the bright local students to excel – put the money and investing on them! 

    If we spend so much money on those who can't learn, tell me, how is this advancing the society?

    • Anonymous says:

      I (thankfully) don't know you, but I can draw from this comment that you are one heartless, senseless and extremely ignorant individual.


      Thumbs down to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      if you can not afford the small price of books, and to educate your child(/ren), then you should NOT have a child!!

      government is not paying for this, they have kindly allowed the use of one classroom for the program to start, the funds for this will come from fundraisng and donations, open your eyes and your heart if you can not afford to open your wallet.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is obvious that you need to be admitted to this programme. Thank God the government isn't investing in your insignificant life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment is irrelevant to the situation as this is a privately funded project – which, I am sure if you ask nicely, you will be able to join right away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pull you head out of your backside and read the article again, and you will see that Govt. has put no money into this project. Is it not society judged on how it treats those who cannot look after themselves. .ie. the sick, elderly etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      "If we spend so much money on those who can't learn, tell me, how is this advancing the society"?

      Right! They will become politicians and the vicious cycle will continue.


    • Anonymous says:

      Let me explain. It will allow them the self respect and dignity to take care of themselves.  It will alleviate the government from having to fully support them financially if they are able to support themselves, even a little.  It will give them pride and fulfillment. 

      From your post it sounds like you yourself may not have self respect, dignity, pride and fulfillment.  Do you think you should enroll?