Three NGOs – two in the community of Laventille and another that focuses on children with special needs – are able to press on with their vital work as a result of a recent financial fillip.
The assistance came from the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation, the charitable arm of CIBC FirstCaribbean. Speaking at the cheque handover held recently, managing director of the Trinidad Operating Company, CIBC FirstCaribbean, Anthony Seeraj said, “we need to ensure that our nation’s children have a chance at learning opportunities.”
Although schools are closed because of the Covid-19 restrictions, simple things such as stationery – notebooks and pencils – to more complex items such as secondary school texts and flash drives were needed as the students prepared for learning at home. In addition, children with special needs require assessment before they are enrolled for therapy.
The Chinapoo Police Youth Club and the Laventille Community Children’s Project were happy for the assistance. Both groups will use the money to purchase necessary textbooks in subjects such as Physics, Mathematics, English, Spanish, Integrated Science and Social Studies.
Caribbean Kids and Families Therapy Organization (CKFTO) will use its donation to help low-income families who are desperately juggling the needs of their children with disabilities, with access to therapy services.
Eloy Burge, president of the Chinapoo Police Youth Club, expressed his gratitude for the foundation’s support. The Youth Club, like others in the country, is directly affiliated with the Community Police Unit.
“A child has a right to an education and I thank FirstCaribbean for their support, as we strive to change the recent state of alienation and disillusion among our youths today,” he said.
Tvynn Lewis, assistant secretary of the Laventille Community Children’s Project which was established in 1998, said children in the community needed help.
“At present, we are supporting displaced children in our community, who as a direct result of COVID-19 have fallen on difficult times as most guardians recently became unemployed. By the bank’s sponsorship of one student, that’s one less to worry about,” she said.
General Manager of CKFTO Krista Hammel-Smith De Verteuil said the pandemic makes it more difficult for children with communication challenges like autism, as they now have to navigate through an increasing lack of social interaction. “Marginalized children with special needs are especially vulnerable as a result of shrinking services and schooling,” she said.