Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
Many things can seem uncertain in a world where the economy is in a constant state of flux, especially when growing up in the inner-city communities of Jamaica.
Tracy-Ann Grant, a 22-year-old final-year student at the University of Technology (UTech), is one such individual who tackled these obstacles as she grew up in a poor family on St John's Road in St Catherine. However, through hard work and dedication, Grant has been able to envision a bright future.
"I couldn't outline the hardest period in my life. I would say life was hard on a whole; however, I became inspired because of my personal situation. I am from the John's Road community, an inner-city community where I haven't seen many people around there being successful. My inspiration was that I wanted to be on top, I wanted to be different," Grant told The Gleaner
Grant attended St Catherine High School where she faced several obstacles such as lack of lunch money and her parents being unable to afford the prescribed textbooks.
"Concerning lunch money, there were times when I had to go to school without any lunch money as my parents didn't have it. I remember there was one time when my parents gave me $30 to go to school, and I cried on my way because of it. But when I reached school, I said, 'You know what, money doesn't count because at the end of the day, I'm going to be on top, get a professional job and this $30 won't matter anymore'," she added.
Her situation started to improve in eighth grade, however, as the guidance counsellor at the school recommended the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education to Grant's mother, which proved helpful as it assisted with school fee, lunch money and other expenses.
"I continued to work hard, and I think it was in 10th grade that I got introduced to Food For The Poor (FFP) by my godbrother. After a while, I actually started getting assistance from FFP. They assisted me with school supplies, school fee and lunch money," Grant said.
That relationship has lasted until now as FFP still assists her with tuition fee and lunch money.
"Without them, I don't think I would have reached so far. FFP is a very wonderful organisation as they help out the less fortunate. I would recommend all other organisations to look out for our students who are needy and contribute towards their education," Grant said.
"Thanks to them, I see myself going very far. I just have to get some more experience in this profession. I even see myself owning my own pharmacy in the future," she added.
Grant is currently completing a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at UTech.