Jordan English wants to give more than food to St Philip family
A view inside the home of the family.
Katura Luke is a mother-of-six who has been struggling to “make ends meet” over the past three years.
The 39-year-old unemployed mother suffers from kidney failure, asthma, diabetes, and has a hole in her heart. She has kept her head above water by collecting bottles and selling them at supermarket depots, but it has not been enough to provide for her four children who reside with her.
The wooden-wall structure in Diamond Valley, St Philip, that Luke, her three-year-old, nine-year-old twins, and 17-year-old daughter have called home is in poor condition. The roof is on the verge of collapse. The house is packed with boxes of clothes, containers, and plastic bottles. Luke and her children sleep on sponge mattress beds.
They have gone without electricity for three years because their home has been labelled a fire hazard by the Barbados Light and Power and they are facing eviction.
The former Geriatric Hospital nurse revealed that the Welfare Department initially paid the rent for her home, but discontinued its payments because the house is a safety hazard due to its poor infrastructure. Luke and her children are also prey to predators in her neighbourhood who lurk around her home and throw rocks into her house.
Sombre but resigned to her reality, Luke said that she was "just trying to survive". Then COVID-19 showed up. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, her only source of income and her health are imperiled.
"If the little girl was to get coronavirus and I catch it, it would kill me . . . I am a high-risk patient so I am not supposed to leave home. Things are supposed to come to me. With the bottles on a morning, I would still try to pick them up, whatever I can do for myself," Luke shared.
Thankfully, her internal cry for assistance has been answered by social media personality Jordan English. English met the family when he hosted the Quarantine Food Drive - an initiative that seeks to provide groceries and assistance to vulnerable families affected by the COVID-19 shutdown, but he came to realize that their situation was extremely dire.
The 23-year-old told the media that he was shocked by the family's circumstances and pledged to offer assistance.
"I have bourgeoise friends and ghetto friends, so I always see a little bit of the ghetto. I know there are places where men might not got certain things in their house but you see the house don’t even got beds. Their beds are sponges. I never saw that level of poverty, no stove, no washing machine, no fridge.
"All the food that we brought here, I didn’t even know that it didn’t make sense because we brought seven to eight chickens but she doesn’t have anywhere to put them," Jordan said.
He added: "There is no electricity here, there is no stove, there are no beds, there is nothing. It is literally covered in bottles and old stuff. It is literally just a house and clutter . . .
"We would like to put them in a more stable situation. At least a decent kitchen, bedrooms for the girls, at least a television or some form of entertainment because there is no way in these times people should be living so."
English went on to appeal to corporate Barbados, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and Government to offer assistance to the Luke family. He pointed out that the children have not been able to engage in virtual school classes because of their lack of access to electricity and technological devices.
"We are appealing to you to help. This isn’t the only place that this is happening but this is the closest to me and . . . I see it up close in the flesh and I can’t ignore it. I have to fix it," he stressed.