Hundreds of children packed the A1 Banquet Hall in the village of Soesdyke, on the East Coast of Demerara, Guyana, from early, on Friday, Aug. 17, to receive gifts of school supplies thanks to donations obtained by members of the Guyana Unity Movement, New York, (GUM). The members traveled to Guyana to ensure every child left the venue with backpacks of coloring books, pencils and crayons. Gift vouchers, were also handed out.
The kids, who were treated to cold drinks after waiting in the sweltering heat, during the first give-away by the organization, later smiled for the camera as they showed off their backpacks and books.
President of GUM, Sherif Barker-Fraser, who was born and received her early education in the village of Soesdyke, expressed gratitude to donors in New York, whom she said, made it possible for so many children to receive the much needed items.
“When I requested donations via my Facebook page, so many of you responded, and this is the benefit. Everything that you gave to us we donated a hundred percent of it. We could not have done this with out your help,” said Barker, whose family name the main street is named after.
“I would also like to thank the parents from Soesdyke and surrounding villages who assisted in putting the school packages together,” said Barker-Fraser, who had to use a microphone to keep the long lined orderly in order to reach students from kindergarten to 5th (Form) Grade.
Vice president of GUM and proprietor of the Hills Restaurant on Church Avenue, Brooklyn, was overwhelmed by the huge turnout, noting that when she was growing up in the Village, she too never had a backpack, and felt it was important to give back to the village.
She called on other organizations, and villagers abroad, to give back to children, adding, “we must give back to educate the future generation of village children.”
Son, of vice chairman of the Soesdyke Democratic Council, Rothschild Grant-Stuart, said the initiative was a great one that would only help, especially single parents, who find it very difficult to supply their children with tools for school. He was surprised that so many children and their parents attended the giveaway, because they were doubtful that they would ever get such help.
“I want to thank her personally for taking the time to donate the school items. I look forward to this being done yearly to help those who cannot afford to provide for their children,” said Grant-Stuart.
The organizers would also like to thank Pato Forde, Gwynette Webster and Volda Bruce for their contribution that made the event successful. The organization will also present gift vouchers worth GY$2000 to an additional 100 students.