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Saturday 22 September 2018
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Digicel invests US$3.5M in communities

Sacha Thompson, Digicel chair, left, deputy house speaker Esmond Forde, new Digicel Foundation chair Desha Clifford, John Delves, CEO Digicel Trinidad and Penny Gomez, CEO Digicel Foundation.

The Digicel Foundation (DF) has invested some US$3.5 million in 108 projects across TT which impacted the lives of thousands.

In the last 12 months, 23 new projects in communities under the headings Epic, Honey Seco and SIDC (Seafood Industry Development Company), and nine new projects in special needs were undertaken.

This was recently revealed by Penny Gomez, CEO of the foundation at Digicel’s corporate box at the Queen’s Park Oval, Tragarete Road.

The foundation also invested US$264,000 in therapy-based education at five additional schools this year: Charis Works, Aspirare, Palmera’s, Tobago School for the Deaf and Happy Haven.

Some US$85,000 went to the Lady Hochoy School in Gasparillo for its first Centre of Excellence project. After a year of Extraordinary Projects Impacting Communities (Epic), the foundation spent over US$120,000.

This small-grants programme donated US$5,000 for each project to enhance and develop indoor and outdoor community spaces, including play parks in San Fernando, Mt D’Or, La Horquetta, Talparo, Morvant/Laventille, Sangre Grande and Dibe/Belle Vue/Dundonald Hill. A computer lab in Curepe, computers in Signal Hill, Tobago, computer lab and tuck shop in Golden Lane, Tobago, library remodelling in Williamsville, community gym in Roxborough, Tobago, Grow Box and recycling project (YMCA) Port of Spain and a water tank farm in Caura Valley were also beneficiaries of US$5,000

The Zippy’s Friends project, is a conflict-resolution emotional literacy programme for children between five and eight years, was highly successful this year. A Zippy Teacher of the Year Award was also introduced to single out an outstanding teacher.

Gomez said: “After a four-year partnership with the implementing agency, the School Leadership Centre of TT, and an investment of US$238,000, there are now some 96

‘Zippy’ Schools throughout TT.”

The SIDC partnered with the Digicel Foundation to implement a youth fishing clinic (YFC), that targeted 50 students from five schools in traditional fishing villages in Trinidad – Manzanilla Secondary, Mayaro Composite, Toco Composite, Guayaguyare Secondary and Vessigny Government Secondary.

At the end of the clinic the five schools competed for US$2,000 to implement a project in their school/community. The winning schools were Guyaguayare Composite and Manzanilla Secondary school. Both decided to implement an aqua-culture project. The foundation invested US$13,295 in this initiative.

MP for Tunapuna Esmond Forde, in his feature address, lauded the foundation’s continued and evolving focus on projects from special needs to communities and the development of communities. He also praised the foundation for its great interest in public/private partnerings and said more public/private partnership was the way to go.

He said: “The foundation’s main focus have resulted in some lasting and still evolving relationships with a plethora of organisations, including international bodies, state agencies, sporting disciplines and just partners; in particular the Special Olympics Committee of TT, which has a special place in being its first partner to have benefitted and continues to benefit in 2017.”

He then proffered his gratitude to the DF for the Tumbassoon Caura Water Tanks Project in his own community, which has contributed and greatly benefitted his community.

John Delves, CEO, Digicel Trinidad, then announced the new chair of the foundation, Desha Clifford, who briefly shared her vision for a new direction that will guide its programme.

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