Students get help from the Diaspora
In addition to 1,000 backpacks presented to children across the island, the diaspora group Professionals Jamaicans for Jamaica (PJFJ) has awarded some 30 high-school students with scholarships valued at $4.2 million.
The students, who are attending various institutions within the 14 parishes, were recognised at the PJFJ's seventh annual awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel recently.
Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica recognises the academic merit of the country's brightest and most talented students "who are the future of our great nation", stated founder and president of the organisation, Horace Daley.
According to Daley, the amount presented at The Jamaica Pegasus will increase, as they will purchase textbooks and pay for CSEC and CAPE examination fees for some of the students. The organisation also provides less fortunate students with a small stipend for transportation and lunch.
"We understand the needs of our children and want to ensure we play our part in their education development," Daley told the gathering, which included a number of educators and parents.
The PJFP president is particularly pleased with the success of the programme, stating that 95 per cent of the recipients enjoy passes in five or more CSEC subjects.
More importantly, he said the students who benefit from the annual awards pave the way forward by participating in the 'Operation Backpack' distribution across the island.
"Our student were excellent throughout the distribution and walked away with a sense of purpose that 'Lifting as We Climb' is fundamental to the success of our great nation," he stated.
FIVE PARISHES BENEFITED
This year, five parishes benefited from Operation Backpack - Trench Town Seventh-day Adventist Basic School in Kingston; Grateful Hill Primary in St Catherine; Riverside All-Age in Hanover; St Paul's Primary in Westmoreland; and Clapham Basic in St Elizabeth.
Lauding the students who have bought into the idea of 'each one helps one', Daley said the programme has eclipsed his organisation's expectations.
"We believe we have already reaped the benefits for identifying few of these gems," he stated with pride.
Plans are already far advanced for hosting an inaugural boat ride fundraiser in New York in the summer of 2017, an event Daley says will give him and his team a more secure basis to generate revenue and increase partnerships, while leveraging funding for education.
Their ambition is to increase the number of recipients to 100 in 2017.
"We have already set a new target to fund at least five high-school students in each of the 14 parishes, and we will take a similar approach to our backpack distribution," Daley revealed.