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Marisa Alijohn and Shawn Doul go through items donated to the family yesterday.

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A La Romaine family of seven has been overwhelmed by an outpouring of love after their emotional plight was featured in last Sunday’s Guardian newspaper.

Five siblings in the family were forced to miss SEA, CXC and CAPE examinations as poverty, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, made it difficult for their parents to even afford food for them daily.

Shawn Doul, his wife Marisa Alijohn, and their five children, who live along the South Trunk Road, La Romaine, have been expressing “thank yous” to several people who dropped off food, clothes, building material and devices at their home over the last few days.

Doul told Guardian Media that the level of support his family received had consumed him.

Les Efforts West/La Romaine councillor Rishi Balramsingh lobbied and secured items valued at $10,000 for the family, inclusive of three iPad devices. He also got funding for online tutoring for the children in the sum of $600 per child.

Balramsingh delivered a water tank and concrete ply for primary repairs to the family’s humble home.

Contractor Dean Curtis Limited also delivered clothing and sleeping items to the family and also gave Doul a job. Curtis organised with Doul to work with his company as a labourer on probation, to assist with his family needs. He said he believed the way to help a man is to “teach him to fish.”

Another citizen from Sangre Grande dropped off clothing, books and cash. A woman, who emailed after reading the story online, pledged an undisclosed amount of cash to the family.

Doul was grateful for all the assistance but he still has a hurdle to cross.

“We are getting help but we cannot build any permanent structure here. This is state land even if we get material. I just wish we could get a piece of land to build a home. And right now, I think that is what we need more than ever, and the children to get back in school. A man promised me a job, so I just want to work and make my family happy.”

When contacted yesterday, Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox said: “An officer is taking a hamper to them and they were contacted by a social worker. The father is going into the office and more than likely they will get a temporary food card. We will be referring the case to the Children’s Authority. A referral will also be sent to the Ministry of Education, as the children are not in school and HDC will be written to with regards to housing for the family. Our Family Services is following up on the family to provide much-needed assistance.”

Despite their circumstances, Doul donated some of the hampers they received to a couple of neighbouring squatters. He said he understands the “struggle” and was happy to assist others by sharing.