Social Development pays tribute to Matilda Charles, 103

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, March 23 – Monday, March 14, 2022

The celebrations started yesterday for Mrs Matilda Charles who celebrates her 103rd birthday today. Asked how she feels about celebrating her 103rd birthday, Mrs Charles, born March 14, 1919, said “It’s an honor. I feel good, I feel good. You think I’m young, no I’m old and I feel goodMrs. Charles went on to say that despite some hearing issues which her daughter has admitted to have been a problem since childhood, she has no ailments, no problems, and she praises and thanks the Father for such a blessing.

Mrs. Charles marked the occasion by going to St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church to receive her blessings. She was joined by relatives including her daughter Joan Charles who celebrated her 66th birthday on March 13. The celebrations continued at his home in Acono Road, St Joseph, where his family, including his sister, Malé Noriega, 86, and his great-great-great-granddaughter Ariana visited the family home to share a family meal. Mrs. Charles said she was happy that everyone was present for ‘see her at this age.”

After Deacon Sheldon Narine blessed the meal, Mrs. Charles made sure everyone was served before they sat down to eat. Her daughter noted that her mother’s selflessness would have greatly contributed to her longevity.

Ms Charles said she grew up in Caura but moved to the Maracas Valley to work as a domestic helper and also to babysit in the village. Ms Charles also said that children today lack respect for elders and advised the younger generation to keep their word, have a good reputation and help others “What’s easy to come is hard to do. Stay out of trouble,” she said.

Representatives from the Departmental Communications and Education Unit and the Division of Aging visited the centenarian to pay their respects as part of the National Centenarian Program and the mother of eight, grandmother of twenty – Seven-year-old and thirty-five-year-old great-grandmother has informed ministry officials that she is keeping abreast of ministry initiatives. She told representatives that since her old age pension is going to the bank, she has no problem and that she is ready to sign the register of life certificates when the process resumes.

The Department of Social Development and Family Services was pleased to honor Ms. Charles through the National Centenarian Program and to encourage individuals to apply for the program by visiting the department’s website at www.social.gov.tt and complete the online form. Completed forms can also be dropped off at the nearest welfare office or emailed to the Division of Aging at [email protected]. For more information about the program, individuals may contact the Division of Aging at 623-2608; Extension 2002 to 2009 or 800-OPIC (6742).

Joel C. Hicks