JSIF provides scholarships to 171 tertiary students
The weekly letters he receives from students pleading for financial help has convinced Omar Sweeny, managing director at the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), that organisations like his must step up to the plate in creating avenues that will assist students in realising their dreams.
Addressing the JSIF's Poverty Reduction Programme's Scholarship Awards Ceremony yesterday, where 171 tertiary students received aid, Sweeny made reference to the fragile state of the economy and gave the assurance that his team would always find ways to alleviate the financial burden for those in need.
"At least every week, we get letters from persons wanting assistance. If you follow the media, you will realise that this week, there were issues surrounding the Students' Loan Bureau. What that brings to us is the risk," he said.
"We know the economy is such that for you to take a loan to complete your education and not have some sort of assurance that you have the ability to do so, it can be a challenge, especially when there are no other alternatives", said Sweeney. "So it's good when grants become available. I know what that feels like because I am a recipient of a scholarship. I know when someone takes money and puts it within your grasp, it is very humbling. I am happy to be a part of a process that can give back to the students," he told the gathering at the Mona Visitors' Lodge in St Andrew.
Invest in knowledge
A former beneficiary of the programme, Jerome Cowans, who was guest speaker at the event, painted a picture of his life growing up in the inner city. He also warned against complacency.
"At a very young age, I learnt a very important principle from my father and my grandfather. They always said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Your parents have invested their time, patience, and the little money they have. You are now expected to continue paying that interest.
"I want you celebrate and feel good because it is somewhat liberating to get a scholarship, but don't stop here," he charged.