Technology in this covid19-era has become essential for learning and education. With the virtual reopening of primary and secondary schools, many students from Moruga lack proper internet access, computer and electronic devices.
Mindful of the challenges, Daeja Young, an ambitious 25-year-old resident of Basse Terre Village, has devoted her time and energy to ensuring that no student is left behind. She operates ABH Cyber Cafe at Moruga Road, near Lam’s Palace, on behalf of Sherilyn Mitchtavy, a US-based philanthropist and businesswoman originally from the area.
The cafe provides free computer usage for students. Other free services include printing, photocopying, e-mailing, laminating and typing services for school-related projects.
Like Mitchtavy, Young is giving back to the community and making a difference in the youths' lives. Saying children are blessings, the soft-spoken Young devotes additional time to help struggling students to make up for lost time learning.
"My interest is kids and anything to do with them. Child empowerment is important. I treat them all as if they are mine. Here, many parents are working and, or, do not have the money and time to care for them properly," Young said.
"Most of the children do not have printers at home. In some areas, the internet reception is poor, and many do not have it. Only the non-students have to pay. I even help adults to learn about computer literacy."
In many cases, she has to teach children and adults the basics of using computers. Some are more familiar with the tablets. The nearest cafe, she estimated, is at Princes Town, which is miles away.
Young is pursuing a degree in sports development at UTT but is on a one year break.
The cafe has been open for the past year and Young took over operations in March after the death of the previous operator. The cafe has seven computers, and the number is expected to be increased by four.
Young said, "Pre-covid19, children got meals and even snacks when they visit. Because we do not want to encourage too many students, we stopped it. Students would come and spend the entire day knowing they will get something to eat."
Last Thursday, the cafe began a food-drive to help people in need. It continues every Thursday until October 30.
Young said she is unsure when and what sparked her motivation to protect and care for people especially children. But she suspected that the death of her daughter, Daejanea, has a role to play. While in form four, she got pregnant and gave birth to a premature girl who died two months later at the hospital. She still copes with the loss but blames no one for it.
"Maybe it was a push for me to love children more. I did not let the situation get the best of me. That was more than 10 years ago. I missed out on school for a short time but returned and finished form five. I got five passes," Young recalled.
Young has also been running MFA Literacy and Learning Centre at Maitland Trace, for two years. It is a branch of the Mascall Football Academy.
"I hope to one day open a pre-school together with my friend Onella Alexander (an OJT), we also have a book club. Ms Mitchtavy has donated items to the centre, and knows my family very well," Young said.
"She is also sending school supplies to the cafe for children."
Since March, the government closed learning institutions owing to the pandemic. Although the 2020/2021 school year has begun, schools are having classes online.