THE principal and staff of Santa Maria RC School in Moruga expressed sincerest gratitude to the Soroptimist International (SI) Anaparima Club for donating textbooks to underprivileged students. Repeatedly thanking SI for its “good deeds,” staff and parents vowed the books will be put to good use.
“They (club) gave the full booklist for two students in standard three. One of the children (recipients) does not have electricity at home. The family does not have any devices to do the classes online,” a parent told Newsday in a phone interview. “Standard three teacher, Ms Chirisse Ranoo, heard about the struggles and decided to help out. She appealed to the club and collected the books over the weekend. She says she does not want any child to be left behind.”
SI is a global volunteer movement geared at transforming the lives of women and girls. The donation was part of SI's third annual book drive.
A post on SI’s Facebook page on Sunday night said: “We are so glad for the opportunity to support their education and invest in their future!” Owing to the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked TT on August 21 in 2018, the dilapidated wooden school building at Penal Rock Road (Santa Maria Village) was further weakened.
Officials deemed it a health and safety hazard. For weeks students stayed home, considering the community does not have a community centre or a place to hold classes.
The then-MP, Dr Lovell Francis, offered his constituency office (in October 2018) at Bois Jean Jean. The Education Ministry had been providing transportation free of charge to the students. The Government demolished the original building, and this year a new one was constructed.
“We will be moving to our new school soon. We appeal to the private sector for a printer and devices, as well as a community hotspot since connectivity is very poor in the area,” another parent pleaded on behalf of the school.
“Neighbours are sharing WiFi passwords to allow the children to do the work being sent by their teachers. They have daily Zoom assembly, and students look forward to hearing, and seeing, from the principal and teachers.”
Under the leadership of the principal, Genevieve Francis, the school has embarked on a literacy drive. However, they lack finances and other resources. “Our school population has grown from an average of 55 students to 70,” said a parent from the rural community.
“There is a very determined child in standard four. The school has been trying to get an electronic device for him. He uses his mother’s phone, but the screen cracked. He is quite brilliant.”
The school’s furniture was old, and the staff and students told Newsday that they look forward to the move into the new school after the covid19 pandemic.