Mustique Charitable Trust to the rescue
Following the impact of Covid-19 on the pockets of parents, the Mustique Charitable Trust (MCT) has taken on the mammoth task of supplying core textbooks and workbooks to over 4000 Primary school students.
Preparation for the one-time Programme began in May, after the Board of Trustees of the MCT unanimously
approved it, and last week Thursday, August 20, the process of handing over the books began.
Across a seven-day period (one Grade a day) parents have been collecting Math, English and Health and Family Life (HFLE) texts and workbooks for their children, at the Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union(KCCU) financial centre on Granby Street, Kingstown.
Simultaneously to the Primary School Book Programme, the MCT is running a mask distribution project for 5000 masks. Therefore, MCT fabric masks, made to be secured in a way that the children may not lose them if having to take off the mask to eat or drink, are also being included in the packages.
The approved budgets for the projects together amount to EC$504,000, with $454,000 allocated to the purchase and distribution of 18,000 books, and EC$50,000 for the MCT mask project.
Administration Director of the MCT, Dularie Malcolm, and her team, are on hand to oversee and execute the Programme.
Malcolm explained that the current situation caused by Covid-19 has impacted many with reduced salaries and lost jobs, with tourism being one of those areas heavily affected in a tourism-oriented country.
Additionally, the drought that took place earlier this year has also affected families with farmers.
The MCT is aiming to give books to 4030 students, but this may change considering persons may already have a book from another source. Although they would prefer to give full packages, any remaining books will be distributed afterwards.
Children who benefited from the program were chosen by the schools. The Trust “reached out to the schools, the Principals, and asked them along with a committee from their school to select those children who are most in need,” Malcolm noted.
“…Our target was 66 schools…all 66 primary schools, I think we’ve reached almost everyone except one school which is in the Grenadines,” the Administration Director stated, and this is because the phone numbers are not working.
Private schools are not on the list.
Any books not distributed to those on the list by week’s end, will be distributed when school begins.
Today, Friday, August 27, the packages for those in Grade K will be handed over. A separate station is allocated for those who may have missed the previous days.
Malcolm commended Gaymes Book Centre, the entity through which they ordered the books, for their timely assistance, “that we were able to have the seven days before school opens to do the distribution so kids who are actually going to school on the first day with the new books in their hand.”
The MCT is also concerned with generating income for local businesses. “Where we can have the businesses stay here, and the finances stay here, we try to do that,” Malcolm explained, noting that the masks are all being made by local tailors and seamstresses.