Mélange Accessibility for All Magazine October 2020 - Page 42

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Save our Youth Foundation

Curacao

The work of a few impacts many . . .

RINGO HARRIGAN , a young man on the island of Curacao , who loves nature , agriculture , art and music , remembers quite vividly when he first became interested in the lives of people with disabilities . He
Ringo Harrigan was only 16 years old working at a
McDonald ’ s restaurant when a person with special needs came in on a wheelchair . From then on , he was moved to learn more and do something to improve their lives .
While Ringo and the Save our Youth Foundation he founded does their small part , he believes more can be done by those in authority on his island of Curacao to provide opportunities for people with disabilities . “ They do have the same rights like everyone else . They have the right to participate in their community and their homes must be made accessible for them ,” said Ringo . His organization ’ s goals are poverty reduction , empowerment of the youth and single mothers , supporting seniors , and improving the lives of the disabled on the island . Much of the programs run by this organization , which was started in 2009 , is funded out-of-pocket by Ringo . He uses his private car to transport people with disabilities and is one of the main advocates on the island for people with special needs . Construction , yard clean-up , sale of agricultural products including fruits , and sale of his art made from leather , wood , aluminum , stone / iron , plastic and also his paintings go towards helping the marginalized on the island .
Over the years , the Save the Youth Foundation have undertaken a number of social projects . One of their most recent is the building of a greenhouse at Mc Piar School on the island . Other projects include :
The Kortjin Project : The home of two seniors and their grandchildren was destroyed by fire . The Foundation rebuilt the house , furnished it and provided clothes for the family .
The Leliberg Project : The roof of a house occupied by a family with children including a two-month old baby was blown off and away by a small cyclone . The Foundation built them a new roof and supplied clothes and other much-needed items .
Leetje Kindergarten : After the passing of Tropical Storm Tomas in 2010 , the organization restored the Leetje Kindergarten school . Ringo said , “ the beauty of this project was , when the kids resumed school , there were big smiles on their faces .”