MIGRANT children at the Living Water Child Friendly Centre in Maraval can now learn with the help of computer tablets, thanks to the European Union Delegation.
They were distributed on Monday by Olafs Arnicans, junior professional in the political section of the delegation.
Rhonda Maingot, director of the Living Water Community (LWC), said the centre is a special unit for education and training of migrant children, and approximately 70 children of primary and secondary school age began schooling at the centre last September.
“In this beautiful building, we have so many things happening, all to do with the education and training of our refugees in TT.
“We welcome you in a special way today as we want to give thanks to the EU for their generous support and help with their kind donation of tablets for our children.”
She said the LWC has over 600 children in child-friendly spaces all over the country.
“It’s also very important that they get acclimatised to TT, because the experience is very different from Venezuela. But we are here to help and to do all that we can.”
She said for many years the LWC has been working with the refugee population, but now with an explosion of refugees, UNICEF has joined UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in supporting the LWC efforts, and she was very happy on Monday for EU’s donation of
the 1,000 mobile devices.
Maingot said at a certain stage in the education programe a child will receive a tablet.
Ruben Barbado, protection officer at UNHCR, said, “We are moving one step forward in order to ensure that the kids have access to their right to education. We are not yet where we would like to be, but this is a step forward in the right direction and we are working with the LWC in order for that to happen, because every child has the right to education.”
Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, representative of the UNICEF office of the Eastern Caribbean Area, expressed his happiness at finding a partner in the LWC.
He said Monday’s event was part of a journey that started a year ago. However, at that time his organisation wasn't comfortable with the non-formal education.
“We wanted a kind of education that is certified. So we came up with the online initiative and blended the online education, using the CXC programme, with certification of the learning for those children.
“I think this is a great achievement, and we have been discussing with the high-level authorities from the CXC, based in Barbados. So there is an agreement that the migrant children will get certified education.
"I hope other civil-society organisations join this undertaking.”
He also thanked the EU for its support in donating tablets, and other donors who came on board to start the children's formal education in September.
“These migrant children are one of the most vulnerable populations that should not be left behind. So I’m counting on the support of all stakeholders, including the government of TT, to continue supporting the humanitarian cause.
"We are aware that the job is not over, because we have to ensure that the services to the migrant children are sustainable as far as education is concerned.
"But we will keep advocating for the children to access quality education in denominational and government schools.”