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Too many young people being cast away – Bibby

Too many young people being cast away – Bibby

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In today’s society, it is no longer “all for one and one for all”, but a new religion of “every man for himself” and that has to change if we are to move forward and develop.

So says Kwesi Bibby, executive director of the non-profit organization called Small Acts of Kindness (SAK). SAK is a Canada-based community organization, which was founded by Bibby in 2014 and is aimed at helping at-risk groups.{{more}}

Speaking during the local launching of the SAK programme last Wednesday at the Evangelical Church at Victoria Park Road, Bibby, a Vincentian who resides in Canada, said that working as an educator here a few years ago, he witnessed first-hand the struggles that teachers face in the classroom.

He said that with this in mind, SAK was introduced to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), in an effort to empower children to realize their full potential by assisting them with some of the necessities that they require to get through the school year successfully.

The SAK programme, described as a student support programme, is offering 50 students from 10 schools food and school supplies and in some cases monetary assistance.

Speaking to a gathering made up of local educators, among others, Bibby stressed that today, there are still too many young people who are being cast away by a society that seems to care more about the latest trends and the latest gadgets and place more focus on social media, while persons become less social and more isolated.

“Children with problems are always somebody else’s problem and never our own; we point fingers and appoint blame to school teachers, government, churches and parents and it is always someone else’s and not me; so these young people are left to their own devices,” stressed Bibby, who added that as a community, we seem not to realize that as members of a society, we form part of an institution and when our children and our young people fail, we are also implicated in their failure.

Bibby stressed that the SAK project is looking to reverse some of these issues, as the group’s founders believe that “if we intervene now to save our at risk youth, it is less likely that they will pose a risk to our society in the future”.

Bibby said that the launch of the project and the donation to the first 50 students is just the initial phase of the project and they are hoping to, in the near future, expand to include, among other things, after school programmes for kids and parent education initiatives.

Bibby stressed, however, that while SAK is willing to work towards these initiatives, “it will take all of us working collaboratively to achieve this”.

He added that SAK, which is made up of a number of persons from the Caribbean diaspora in Canada, is laying the groundwork for well-adjusted adults who can contribute to the development of society.

Also speaking at the launch, another member of SAK, Chanel Christophe, said that the project is still in its early stages, but the launch of the student support programme “brings us closer to the realization of our destination”.

Christophe, a St Lucian who resides in Canada, said that when he was asked to partner to form SAK, he was sold on the idea at once, as he realized that he was in a unique position to provide support to the countless initiatives aimed at bettering the lives of those less fortunate in the Caribbean islands of St Lucia, SVG and Jamaica.

“What for us would be small acts and small donations will undoubtedly have a huge impact and so we have seen the SAK project grow from strength to strength and support a number of initiatives, not only in SVG, but also in Jamaica and St Lucia. Our involvement and active participation in the life of at-risk youths will have a significant positive impact and reward. I hope that as SAK grows, we can count on the support of persons,” said Christophe.

The launch also heard from senior education officer in the Ministry of Education Dixton Findlay, who described the launch as “very important,” noting “kindness goes a long way and we have to be grateful when persons are kind to us, even in small ways”.

Findlay said that the Ministry of Education is always willing to partner with individuals to make SVG a better place.

“Education is very important and any donation or any gesture that will make the life of a child in St Vincent better is always welcomed by the Ministry of Education, as our aim is to continue to work to improve the quality of education…when organizations like SAK help to make the life of a child in school better, it is better for us and better for St Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Findlay.

President of the SVGTU Oswald Robinson stressed that he is extremely happy to partner with the organizers and the Ministry of Education.

Robinson said that the philosophy of SAK is based upon giving back, while SAK’s mission is geared towards the holistic empowerment of students, not only in terms of food, materials and transportation, but the intellectual development and advancement of students.

“We are very happy that this project would be launched today and that it will touch the lives of some students in our schools who are at risk,” said Robinson.

The schools chosen to start the programme are the Belair Government School, the Gomea Methodist School, the Brighton Methodist School, the Fancy Government School, the Sion Hill Government School, the Clare Valley Government School, the Kingstown Anglican School and the Kingstown Government School, the Troumaca Government School and the Paget Farm Government School.

As the programme grows, more schools will be included, while the project will be enhanced to focus on poverty reduction in the communities.

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