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A heart of gold – Karen Sudu made paper bags to attend school; she now helps needy students

Evadney Daley sold paper bags in Old Harbour market for her four children, including former journalist Karen Sudu, to regularly attend school and acquire a solid education.

Karen recalled that she had to stay up late at nights with her brothers and sister to make paper bags in all sizes for her mom to sell.

“My father’s money was never enough to fully support us,” she told The Beacon, adding that her dad’s name is Joslyn Sudu.

While Karen was a student at St Jago High School in 1980, she conceptualized the True United Sisters (TUS) organization.

“I had a vision to establish an organization that would satisfy the needs of unskilled and unemployed women and their children in Bog Walk and surrounding areas,” she said.

TUS, which was established on 31 July 2005, is now a registered charitable organization, which is based in the Bog Walk area of St Catherine.

It has a women’s group, a seniors group, and a Youth Empowerment Association (YEA).

Karen explained that, at the time she formed TUS, her dream was to have a branch in every parish, as well as chapters in the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA.

“I am happy to say that a chapter was established in Oakville, Canada, in 2015, under the guidance of Orrett Smith and wife, Pat. Since its formation, TUS Canada has been providing tremendous support,” she added.

TUS Canada, Karen further disclosed, hosts two major fundraisers annually – a tea party in July and a dinner and dance in October.

Both events are used to raise funds for back-to-school and to help students pay for their CSEC and CAPE subjects, which are administered by the Caribbean Examination Council.

TUS has been assisting students at all levels of the education system since it was established.

Karen explained: “While students have been receiving educational assistance since 2005, it was not until 2014 that we had the first awards ceremony. To date, approximately 250 students have benefitted from the back-to-school programme, with several being repeat beneficiaries.”

During the latest awards ceremony, which was held at Bethel Baptist Church in Bog Walk last week Thursday, August 29, TUS provided assistance to 42 students.

They received school fees, uniforms, bags, text and notebooks, pens, pencils and crayons.

The recipients are members of TUS youth group, and the children of people who have membership in TUS women’s group.

Shereen Munroe, a member of the women’s group whose three children got assistance, said:“As a single mother, it’s a tremendous help. I am very happy to receive this type of assistance at this time. I must say thanks to True United Sisters – Jamaica and Canada – and all the sponsors who made it possible.”

The sponsors are people living in Jamaica and abroad, as well as Kingston Bookshop, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), and the National Commercial Bank.

The top recipients this year, in the meantime, included Leigh-Ann Martin from St Jago High School who received the JPS Scholarship. Another awardee is Kadeen Grant of Dinthill Technical High School who was the top CAPE performer – obtaining five subjects with four Grade Ones and a Grade Two.

Twin sisters Timoy-Ann and Tami-Ann Clarke of Dinthill Technical High School were awarded for obtaining seven CSEC subjects each.

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