By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Ranfurly Home may have to close its doors for good after nearly 60 years next month if it is not able to raise the $400,000 needed to keep the orphanage open.
Ranfurly Home President Alexandra Maillis Lynch said yesterday the orphanage has less than $40,000 in its bank account and it takes about $20,000 a month to keep the home up and running.
The Ranfurly Home has been a safe haven for thousands of Bahamian children since 1956, providing shelter and a new life for those who have been orphaned, abused, neglected or abandoned. Today it is caring for 24 children between the ages of five and 19, who have been placed there by the Department of Social Services.
Speaking to The Tribune Mrs Lynch said the home lost a great proportion of its funding over the past year as a result of a number of sources of private funding “drying up” almost simultaneously, or becoming uncertain.
“Anyone who wants to give we will accept any donation. It take us $500,000 a year to run this home and take care of these kids and currently we have $37,000 in our account so you do the math. We have applied for a government increase, as we do every year with both governments, but they continue to decline us because we are independent. But we still ask, we will continue to ask for the children,” she said.
“We only take in kids from the Department of Social Services and we work with them so we know the government is having financial difficulty as well, that is why we are appealing to the private sector as much as possible to subsidise the living expenses as well as other services we think are necessary, such as counselling. We are not fine, we are working very hard and coming up short.”
Mrs Lynch also quashed rumours that the children at the home are “spoiled” and the Ranfurly Home does not need support.
“We are struggling. All the money we receive goes into the children and the home. It is not wasted or squandered,” she said.
“Our books are open, our financials are audited, you can look at how exactly the money is being spent. We have an open door policy, you can look at how exactly the money is being spent. Our children are not spoiled, they are required to do community service, they are barely keeping their heads above ground.
“We are trying to create citizens of a healthy Bahamas. There are still teenagers and they still need clothes and other stuff as well. So if anyone has a swim camp or wants to take them bowling or to the movies or anything fun, please contact us.”
The home accommodates up to 45 children ranging in age from five to 20 and is equipped with three dormitories, a study room, living room, a computer/library centre and a kitchen and dining facility.
Anyone who wants to make a donation can contact the home at 393-3115 or 557-3557.