Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Digicel, Gleaner grant Christmas wishes after letter submissions from kids

Published:Monday | December 26, 2016 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Elon Parkinson (centre), Digicel's head of public relations, poses with (from left) Deondre Clarke, Rodean Smith, Tashay Dorma, Khandae Royal and Orane Cushnie. All five children had their Christmas gift wishes granted by Digicel after being selected by The Gleaner.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or perhaps Feliz Navidad. Any which way you say it, it speaks to a joyous time.

With that said, The Gleaner and Digicel last Friday ensured five youngsters were able to experience that joy when their Christmas wishes were granted by the telecommunications firm.

The children, between ages 10 and 16, were selected after The Gleaner invited youngsters across the island to submit letters outlining what gifts they wanted for Christmas and why.  

"I think it's one of the greatest things to do at Christmas, it's all about giving back," said Kamal Powell, senior sponsorship and development manager at Digicel.

"We (Digicel) are very proud of what we have done today. The smiles on the kids' faces are overwhelming and we would like to wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

Joining in, Elon Parkinson, head of public relations at Digicel, said: "The letters were well written. We knew immediately that we had to play our part in ensuring that these children have something to smile about at Christmas."


Tashay Dorma

"My wish is for my mother to get a television set for our house. We would love to come home in the evenings and sit as a family and watch television together. Maybe having a television in the house will cheer us up and keep our minds occupied, especially at nights."

In her letter to The Gleaner, 10-year-old Tashay Dorma recounted a horrific experience on the night of November 7, when her mother was  robbed at gunpoint. While the robbers were accosting her mother, she was shoved to the floor by the culprits. The events of that haunting night had lingering effects on the psyche of the family and Tashay's mother in particular. Tashay was gifted a brand new 32-inch JVC Smart TV.

Her response: "Thank you Digicel and Gleaner for making my wish come true. I'm really happy as I didn't have any TV and my mother was stressing herself to buy one."

The smiling grade-five student is the youngest of five siblings and was looking forward to the reaction of her family when they see the gift.

Deondre Clarke

"My mom is the strength and backbone for me right now, but financially it is very hard for her to support me. However, no matter what the situation is, she always ensures that my educational needs are met or close to (being met)."

This is how 16-year-old Deondre Clarke described his hard-working single parent. Deondre has started gearing up for his Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams, but experiences difficulties in completing his school-based assessments (SBAs) due to lack of access to a computer.

Deondre said: "My mom simply cannot afford a laptop right now so I'm just asking the good Lord and your companies to grant me a laptop, please!"

Deondre received a brand new Dell laptop and flash drive to aid his studies.

He told The Gleaner: "I'm very excited and I'm very thankful. Thanks for putting an effort to put smiles on our faces at this time. I plan to use this gift to complete my assignments and for other productive doings."


Khandae Royal

Eleven-year-old Khandae Royal is one of 10 children for her parents. Her mother struggles greatly to make ends meet while her father is unemployed.

In her letter, she said "I cry for my mom sometimes because she has it hard. Some days I have to beg relatives and friends to get by."

The shy youngster was hopeful that she could receive a smart phone to aid with communication as well as her studies. She received a DL 1000 smartphone. 

"Thank you so much, Digicel, for this gift and thank you Gleaner for putting this in the paper."

Orane Cushnie

"My struggles began when my father passed away. My mother has four children and is not working, so she asks for help from relatives to send us to school."

Due to financial difficulties, 12-year-old Orane Cushnie has been back and forth between relatives. The optimistic preteen stated in his submission: "I would really like a tablet because it can help me with my school work and also make learning fun."

On receiving a new Alcatel One Touch 7 tablet, he said: "I am very thankful for the tablet and I love Digicel, it is the best brand ever."

Rodean Smith

"I love my mom and it breaks my heart to see her in pain. Most times we don't have money to go to school but mom manages to send us."

Ten-year-old Rodean Smith has a twin brother and a younger sister. His financial constraints were amplified by the passing of his father. Rodean too wanted a tablet to aid with studies and leisure, in addition to sharing with his siblings. He wasn't to be denied and left with an Alcatel tablet and what seemed a permanent smile.

He simply said: "I'm just happy. Thank you, Digicel and Gleaner. I love you both."

With their parents an arm's length or two away, beaming with pride, the children were also presented with school bags and stationery for the upcoming school term.