Step Up 4 Armadale


Tomorrow. May 22nd, marks five years since the horrific fire at Armadale. Seven girls died in the state institution, which was supposed to be a place of safety for youth who were there for various reasons. A new initiative has launched, Step Up 4 Armadale, and it is aimed at providing mentorship and training for the girls so that they can develop some skills and reach a state of independence in their lives. From the story:

“We have been hearing your plight, and we want to help to do great things to overcome your challenges,” said Marie Sparkes, initiator of the Step Up 4 Armadale project.

“I was approached a year ago by six of the survivors seeking help to move forward, and today represents one of the steps we are taking to ensure that you are able to do something positive with your lives,” added Sparkes, who is the founder of Pure Potential, which is leading the initiative.

The girls are still young and still suffering from the trauma of the horrible fire, which saw them trapped in the institution while a fire raged. They also saw their peers die. How one recovers from such a trauma, I don’t know, but many of the girls have demonstrated resiliency and a dedication to forging their own path.

Last week, I had the pleasure of catching up with Candene, one of the survivors at the graduation ceremony for WMW, who also recently appeared on Talk Up Yout to discuss the topic of youth in state care. This is the clip above, please watch it, it is very powerful.

Some of the girls are in the process of negotiation for compensation from the government, but many do not know this process is ongoing. Check out a story I did on this here.

7 thoughts on “Step Up 4 Armadale

  1. Reblogged this on Petchary's Blog and commented:
    May is Child’s Month in Jamaica. When these girls were caught in the terrible fire at Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre – five years ago – they were in their teens. They are still young. I am re-blogging this post from Kate Chappell, which includes a moving interview with one of the Armadale survivors. Do watch, and share. And please, in Child Month and throughout the year, see what you can do to help and support our vulnerable girls.

  2. I hope you don’t mind my reblogging you again, Kate! I have some details of this campaign but was not aware of the video. This is awesome and so important…

  3. Reblogged this on Dr CJPJ and commented:
    I cannot put into words the disfiguring pain in my soul when I consider what this young girls went through. I am really looking forward to working with Pure Potential to bring support to the survivors of the Fire at Armadale. #fiveyears

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