Thirty-one high school students in St Catherine have been awarded scholarships worth $620,000 by the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF).
The educational support was presented on Tuesday, July 23, during a ceremony at the St Catherine parish office of the Social Development Commission (SDC) in Spanish Town.
Executive Director of the Foundation, Pauline Gregory-Lewis, noted that the body provides back-to-school support for children in the parish who face financial difficulties.
In the first year of operation in 2015, the PAEF supported four students. In 2016, the number was increased to nine beneficiaries, extending to 20 students in 2017, and 21 in 2018.
Gregory-Lewis noted that the group also has been reaching out to the disabled community and children at the early-childhood and primary school levels through a breakfast programme and other support.
She said the objective of the PAEF is to ‘help parents to keep their children in school’ and ensure that their education is uninterrupted.
Guest speaker at the function and noted educator, Professor Errol Miller, implored the students to take advantage of the educational opportunities.
“Seize the possibilities, and don’t look at where you are coming from; look at where you are going,” he said.
Meanwhile, Claudette Campbell, whose son is a scholarship beneficiary, said she is ‘grateful’ for the assistance.
Campbell, who is also President of the Old Harbour Bay Primary School Parent-Teacher Association, which is receiving support from the PAEF, urged the Foundation to continue its work, as education ‘is the best for children’.
Immaculate Conception High School student, Tyhecka Walters, said that the Foundation has been a major help.
Meanwhile, Grade Six Coordinator at the McAuley Primary School, Alia Harris, reported that the breakfast programme implemented through support from PAEF has improved attendance and punctuality at the institution.
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