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Seniors enjoying “very rewarding” day programme

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Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The government’s new Seniors’ Day Programme is off to an excellent start, according to participants who attend the weekly five-hour sessions.

Jason McClean Payne, popularly known as King Pharaoh, resides in East Basseterre and attends the sessions at the Newtown Community Centre. He said that he eagerly joined the programme after being invited to attend. He used one word to sum up his experience to date – “Excellent.”

“We are able to interact and speak about the past, and everyone has a different view of the past, and I think it is fruitful,” he said, noting that the camaraderie is something he cherishes. “At our age, we need to be talking with people. … I find that a lot of the younger generation just believes in talking [about] ignorance, and I don’t have room for that anymore. But the elders will be telling you about something more upbeat (about) their experience, which is good.”

Since the programme launched on March 20, 2023, the seniors have been engaged in kite making.

Another senior, Marilyn Cotton of Manchester Avenue, also expressed that the five-hour sessions at the Newtown Community Centre are “very rewarding.”

“We have devotions first thing in the morning, and I enjoy that a lot and then we go into our kite making,” Ms. Cotton stated. “Next week, we will be going to Black Rocks to fly the kites that we made.”

When asked about the opportunity to fly the kite on April 11, at the Kite Flying Festival, Ms. Cotton laughed lightly and said it feels like “I am young again.”

The Kite Flying Festival begins at 9 a.m. Approximately 60 seniors and youth from the surrounding community are expected to participate. The festival and the seniors’ programme are organized by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities.

Payne and Cotton thanked the government for introducing the Seniors’ Day Programme, expressing that they are looking forward to the expansion of activities in the coming weeks and months.

The programme is being piloted in the communities of East Basseterre, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, and is designed to keep seniors engaged and active during the assigned days. To do so, the older persons participate in organized arts and crafts sessions and educational dialogues on relevant topics such as healthy eating, disaster management, proper foot care for diabetics, financial management, and more.

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