US group launches breakfast program in Guyana

Students of Mashabo Primary School in the rural Essequibo region of Guyana began a breakfast program, thanks to the New York-based Guyana Jamaica Friendship Association that launched the initiative on Dec. 30, at the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in Georgetown.

Yvonne Pearson, advisor in the ministry, hailed the program as a kind gesture by the group. The advisor said she looked forward to strengthening the relationship to further serve the students.

“Even though the Ministry of Education provides a hot meal service to many of our rural villages and schools, Mashabo will greatly benefit from this program, and others that are offered, said Pearson who extended a warm welcome to the group.

“We especially take note of this breakfast program and we do hope it will continue, adding ‘it is a great that Guyanese living abroad remember us at home.

“I am also pleased to see one of our former cricketers, Roger Harper, here to present cricket gear to the students of Mashabo. On behalf of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, thank you,” she added.

Members of GJFA, Claire Bristol, RN, Saran Nurse and secretary Chauncey Lee, RN, who traveled from the U.S. to make the presentation, extended greetings from president Dr. Frank A. Denbow whose vision Lee said it was to adopt a school in Guyana, and chose Mashabo to receive the assistance.

“Dr. Frank A. Denbow visited Guyana last year after the organization was founded in January, 2013, and felt that GJFA should sponsor a breakfast program. He also saw the kids playing cricket in the school yard with makeshift gear, and felt that they should receive the proper equipment for the sport,” said Lee.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the ministry and headmaster, Mr. Vancooten, to enhance this program and to keep the children in the Mashabo region well nourished. Without a healthy body, minds cannot function properly,” said Lee.

Lee, a registered nurse, pledged that the organization’s future initiative would include a health program to better serve the students.

She added that GJFA would work diligently to host three major fundraising events to carryout its work.

“On behalf of our president, Dr. Frank A. Denbow, I would like to thank everyone who came out. We look forward to your continued support,” said Lee.

Quado Vancooten, headmaster of Mashabo Primary School, which houses 104 staff and students, in turn, expressed gratitude for the assistance, stating that the institution was fortunate to be selected for the breakfast program.

“We feel the advent of the breakfast program will keep students’ attendance high to the level the school wants it to reach. It is not only the mental faculty of the children that needs to be developed, we will also work hand in hand to help the students academically,” siad the headmaster.

“Parents have great pride in the development of their children and are willing to cook for the children every day, added Vancooten who promised to keep the organization informed on the program’s success.

“I am happy to see the smiling faces of the children when there is a daily meal. It is something that is far reaching,” said Vancooten.

The educator said the students are in love with the game of cricket, and told former West Indian champion, Roger Harper that the students use the cricket field everyday.

“When Dr. Denbow visited the school, as soon as he entered the school grounds, a student hit a ‘six-run’ shot,” said Vancooten. He added, “Dr. Denbow felt the effect of the children’s love for the game and provided them with the gear. I can assure you the cricket gear would be used to the maximum.”

Village leader Toshao Joseph James added, “We are very thankful for this donation that we received for our village, our youth love cricket and using the proper gear would give them the opportunity to play the game well. A recent grant from village council to upgrade the playground will benefit our youth.”

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