Also Known As: Belmont Orphanage
Address: #34b Belmont Circular Road, Trinidad, West Indies
Phone & Fax: (868) 624-7882
Contact: Sister Marina
Dedication: Providing a Home for Orphanages
History - 1871 to the beginning of 2000
Fr. Mariano Forestier O.P. founded the St. Dominics Children's Home in 1871 to provide a home for the many poor wandering, homeless and children of the city of Port of Spain. Mr. L.A. Le Roy bought the property on which the present Home stands and gave it to the goodly priest to carry out his mission. On 11th September, 1871 Archbishop Gonin officially blessed the Home.
In 1876, the Dominican Sisters were given the responsibility for managing and operating the Home. This function they still carry on today. The Home was developed with the assistance of many benefactors between 1871 and 1935. All of the Houses on the compound were constructed through the generosity of many of these benefactors. These houses are still being used today with slight modifications.
The Home used and still uses the traditional domitory style single sex approach for housing and rasising the children. In 1971 to mark the centenary of the founding of the Home, a new Home was constructed in Malick, Barataria. This Homestead was to house between 12 to 15 children. This unit was to be a family unit housing brothers and sisters together, as this was the new approach in foster care. In 1983, an additional family unit was built in Calvary Hill, Arima. While in Belmont itself, two (2) departments were converted into family units a couple of years later.
The Home in 1980 along with the three other foster care Homes became subject to the provisions of the Statutory Authorities Act of 1966. This has meant that all matters relating to the appointment and dismissal of staff became subject to the Statutory Authorities Service Commission.
On 14th April, 1996, fire struck the home and destroyed a block of buildings, which housed the senior boys of the Home, and at that time the administrative office of the Home. Soon after the fire there was an outpouring of sympathy for the Home and approximately $1.5 million was raised from the public and business community.
Instead of just rebuilding the dormitories destroyed by the fire, the management of the Home decided to rebuild on the site a vocational trade complex. This complex brought under one roof the many trades, which at the time of the fire were scattered all over the Home. this move meant that the post-primary programme of the primary school on the Compound, which did not cater exclusively to the children of the Home, could take advantage of the trades. This allowed the non-residents to use the facilities without compromising the security of the residences.
Belmont Orphanage Needs
On the site of the former trade shop a new foundation and structural framework for a new dormitory has been laid. However due to a lack of funds the building has remained incomplete for almost a year. This building needs to be completed as part of the rebuilding programme of the home.
All seven (7) buildings, which house the ten departments of the children, have been constructed more than 60 years ago. This has meant that despite all our efforts to repair and maintain these buildings, all of them are in need of reconstruction. In the main all the buildings are badly designed and make the management of the children a difficult exercise on a day to day basis.
The age of these buildings means that over the medium to long term, the Home will have to embark on a massive reconstruction effort to avert any likely disaster associated with this aging plant. This makes it imperative that the incomplete building must be finished in order to act as a decanting center when the rebuilding exercise begins.
Repair of roof for two departments; estimated at $180,000.00 TT
Arrears owed on exsisting unfinished structure; $260,000.00 TT
Funds needed to finish exsisting structure; not estimated
Concrete water tanks leaking badly
Dining and Sitting Room chairs needed for several departments
Text supplied by: Staff at the Home
One cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs -- but it is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelette. -- Professor Charles P. Issawi