JIS: Twenty-one high school students in St. Catherine have been awarded scholarships worth $315,000 by the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF).
The awards were presented today (August 14), at the St. Catherine parish office of the Social Development Commission (SDC), in Spanish Town.
Executive Director of the Foundation, Pauline Gregory-Lewis, said in its five-year existence, the organisation has been focusing on children and has made the lives of those in the parish “a little bit more bearable.”
She said the Foundation will be having another audience with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) to expand their breakfast programme to additional basic schools in St. Catherine, so that more children will get what is “necessary for brain development.”
In 2015, the PAEF supported four students with back-to-school funds; in 2016, they increased the number to nine beneficiaries; in 2017, it was extended to 20, and this year the support has been further extended to 21students.
The Executive Director told the audience that the provision of scholarships to the students, “is our way of ensuring that the children get some form of assistance to move from one phase of their lives to another.”
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Jamaica, Winsome Wilkins, encouraged the scholarship recipients to be “persistent in doing the work that is set before you,” as applying themselves diligently to schoolwork “will pay off.”
She said that children need to follow their passion and choose their friends and mentors wisely, emphasising that they must listen to “your parents, listen to your teachers, as they want the best for you.”
“Be your best self, have your priorities straight, and the rest of your life will follow on the same path,” she added.
The PAEF manages projects that include training in entrepreneurial enterprises, such as apiculture and poultry-rearing, with assistance from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Bodles Research Centre, Food For The Poor and other corporate entities.
CAPTION: Recipients of the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF), 2018 scholarship programme, at the presentation ceremony, held today (August 14), at the St. Catherine parish office of the Social Development Commission (SDC), in Spanish Town. With the students in the back row (from left) are: Donor to the Foundation, Michelle Smith; Chairman of the PAEF, Devon Samuels; Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Jamaica, Winsome Wilkins, and Executive Director of the PAEF, Pauline Gregory-Lewis.