Auntie Olga

Affectionately known throughout Barbados as Auntie Olga, Mrs. Olga Lopes-Seale made Barbados her home more than 40 years ago. Born in Guyana on December 26th, 1918, she was the youngest of 9 children,  6 of whom would have died before she was given birth to. Her parents were offspring of Portuguese immigrants who were brought to the Caribbean to work as indentured field labourers.


Broadcasting Career

Auntie Olga began her broadcasting career in her early teens when she first appeared on Radio Guyana. This early start soon led to her becoming a radio announcer, news presenter and programme producer at a time when women were not allowed to read the news.


While in Guyana, she started Radio Demerrara's Needy Children's Fund back in 1952 that stemmed from a need to provide children who were in need with food, shelter and clothing. This soon grew and as the needy grew, so too did the contributions. This venture saw Auntie Olga clothing and feeding close to 1,500 needy children in Guyana.


Her Voyage to Barbados and the Needy Children's Fund

Her voyage to Barbados took place in 1963 when she left Guyana to reside in her husband's place of birth. Her previous successful efforts with the needy soon followed her to Barbados where she was invited to host a needy kids programme on Barbados Redifusion. In the very first year, she reaped great success that would see her being able to contribute to the lives of more than 500 needy children across Barbados, despite colour, class or creed.


In 1961, the honour of the Member of the British Empire was bestowed upon her for the valuable contribution she made to the community, the Government of Barbados, during its Independence Celebrations for 1992 and 1994, bestowed upon Mrs. Lopes Seale, the Honours of Barbados Service Star and Gold Crown of Merit respectively.


At the 2005 National Honours and Awards Ceremony, the accolade of Dame of St. Andrew was bestowed upon Mrs. Lopes-Seale in acknowledgement of her unwavering commitment to the public of Barbados and community service.


The needy in Barbados have truly benefited from the tireless efforts of Auntie Olga over the years. House repairs, funeral grants, clothes, food, textbooks and whatever else the needy were in need of at the time that can be deemed justifiable, was always attended to by this remarkle human-being.


Auntie Olga has dedicated her life since childhood to the service of others and has touched many in Barbados, through the medium of radio and via charitable work in the community. Her public service activities consisted of the founding of the Rediffusion Needy Childrens Fund, and so caring was she, that she became one of the most loved personalities on local radio. She has also extended her caring hand to many elderly women and men, through her efforts to raise significant sums of money for the Soroptimist Senior Citizens Village.


The Needy Children’s Fund has been in existence for some 42 years and has helped thousands of families. Although it is officially "The Needy Children's Fund" – Auntie Olga takes care of "her children" "From the womb to the tomb". As they age they are also cared for and the fund has even paid for some burials.


Every family that is given help has been seen by her personally. After investigating and ascertaining the worthiness of an appeal, practical help is given by way of food vouchers, school uniforms, shoes, textbooks etc. Auntie Olga is very hands on and doesn’t just give handouts – she follows through on the progress of the people she helps, saying, “I am not pouring water in a basket.” I require a report on good behaviour and regular attendance.


At Christmas there is a Christmas Party for the children, their mothers and a number of poor senior citizens on the Harbour Master. All of the children are outfitted and each child is given a toy in keeping with its age and sex.


Throughout the year food vouchers are issued and other help required (spectacles, doctor) is given.


Through the years much has been achieved with the support of individuals, Corporate Barbados - and fundraising projects organised by caring groups.


She continues to work very closely with two groups on the island of Barbados that focus on the needs of children. Those two groups are the Multinational Women's Group and the Variety Club of Barbados.


In addition to the countless awards she has received from Charity organizations, Auntie Olga was also inducted into the Caribbean Broadcasting Hall Of Fame in 1997 in recognition of the tremendous contribution she has made to tile community through her programmes. She has touched the heart of every Barbadian and is indeed one of the most admired matriarchs of our island.


Auntie Olga is known throughout the Caribbean for her openhanded commitment to the needs of the poor, contributions to children and the aged, sense of community, work as broadcaster, philanthropist, crusader for the underprivileged and newspaper columnist.


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