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Apr 24, 2015

New Patroness for HelpAge Belize

Maria Elena Sylvestre

HelpAge Belize has a new Patroness. Appointed by the Board, Maria Elena Sylvestre is now the lead advocate for the N.G.O. that champions the rights of the elderly. Sylvestre has been involved with HelpAge since 1988 and served as a board member, president and past president over those years. As the front line advocate for the organization and the elderly population, she hopes to bring about legal protection for the vulnerable population.


Maria Elena Sylvestre, Patroness of HelpAge Belize

“It’s an honorary title and I feel very honored and I really am overwhelmed that the entire group of HelpAge came up with the unanimous agreement to have me as patroness. I feel that the role is more oversight in all the developments of HelpAge. It has been the premiere organization in helping the elderly. When I started in 1988, we were already in the 5 districts but now we’ve expanded into Belmopan, Hopkins and we’re opening in Seine Bight and more and more the conviction that older persons deserve to be recognized to supported to be loved and to be cared for. HelpAge more than ten years ago did a legislative review and we came up with definite areas of legal – where older people can be legally protected because older people are vulnerable not only to greater society but even in their homes. If this legislative review can be put into laws, it has been submitted and it has been looked at but it has never gone and become law. Yes older people have all the rights that other Belizeans have but there are specific areas where they need to be protected. If I could see where there is a law that protects older people, I will feel that HelpAge has achieved a  tremendous milestone.”


Sylvestre takes up the post following the passing of Sister Elsa Oliva earlier this year. Sister Elsa was Patroness from 2007 to 2015. The HelpAge day centers offer social activities on a daily basis; these are open to all senior citizens in Belize.

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