Sat | Feb 4, 2023

Early childhood back to school donations from House of SDM

Published:Saturday | August 20, 2022 | 12:06 AMKeisha Hill /Senior Gleaner Writer
Beneficiaries and Sheldon Millington (centre) of House of SDM.
Beneficiaries and Sheldon Millington (centre) of House of SDM.

There is a powerful quote by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This sentiment rings true as 80 early childhood students from a wide cross-section of communities in Kingston and St Andrew will start the new academic school year with all their back-to-school supplies, thanks to the House of SDM, and various sponsors who recently handed over educational grants and supplies to the students valued at $40,000 each.

According to Sheldon Millington, chairman of the House of SDM, in celebration of his 40th birthday, the organisation decided to give students educational grants that would cover their booklist and other school supplies.

“It dawned on me that during the pandemic we gave away over 200 tablets to children at the primary and secondary levels of education, through partnerships with corporate Jamaica, families, and friends. So now was the time to honour our early childhood students,” Millington said.

Millington said what started as a search for 40 sponsors turned into 80. “I was reminded that God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself. I had a dream to provide for 40 students, but God said I will double your blessing and he gave us 80,” he said.

“We purchased all their books and school supplies on their booklist, while some were given tablets and backpacks. The reaction from the beneficiaries was joy rising. When each of them accepted their packages, you could see the warm smile on their faces. Hope was restored and that’s what I want, I want to give these children hope! Hope for a better day, hope for a better tomorrow, and hope for a better Jamaica,” Millington said.

Sponsors included Sagicor Foundation, VMBS Foundation, Tourism Enhancement Fund, Food for the Poor, Jampak Import Company Limited, First Rock Foundation, Jengar Bookkeeping Solutions, Paradise Catering, Fishers Place, and Angel Network Partners (Friends of House of SDM).

PLEASED TO SUPPORT INITIATIVE

According to Michelle-Ann Letman, manager, public relations and corporate social responsibility officer at Sagicor Group Jamaica, Sagicor Foundation was pleased to support initiatives that seek to highlight, reward, and celebrate excellence in education, as well as to advance the educational pursuits of our nation’s youths.

“Education is a primary pillar of the Sagicor Foundation as we play our part in contributing to and investing in the education of students at all levels of their education, as well as in the infrastructural development of educational institutions. As a Sagicor Community Hero awardee, we were pleased to support Sheldon Millington through his foundation to give back to students in a meaningful way,” Letman said.

According to Samantha Charles, chief executive officer at the VM Foundation, the Foundation supports youth development by providing opportunities that will empower our young people to make bold moves towards living a successful life.

“The VM Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life through our transformative initiatives. Youth development is at the core of the work we do at the Foundation, and we recognise the challenges our young people face daily without the tools to assist in their education. We commend the House of SDM for their efforts and are delighted that VM Foundation was able to support this initiative,” Charles said.

Meanwhile, Santanio Husi, at First Rock Foundation, said with their objectives centred around assisting students, particularly those who face social and economic challenges. We recognise that the youths of Jamaica are our future and as a result, we prioritise projects and causes which help to empower young people and enhance their livelihood.

“As we navigate our way out of the pandemic as a country, there is absolutely no doubt that COVID-19 has disrupted various social and economic sectors in Jamaica. One such sector that has been severely impacted is that of education. With the focus of the First Rock Foundation being on students and education, we believed there was a strong alignment of our mandate with the House of SDM’s initiative. We are pleased to be able to contribute toward the effort to acquire tablets to ensure that students in need can function with the new hybrid approach, face-to-face, and online learning,” Husi said.

“It was an absolute pleasure to partner with some of the best players in nation building. Each phone call of confirmation to partner with us at the House of SDM solidified my faith in this country and the work we are doing at the House of SDM. Their partnership demonstrates that they believed in education and the children of Jamaica. Someone once said, “Show me a prosperous country and I will show you an educated nation’. They want Jamaica to be prosperous,” Millington said.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com