Even amid the sadness of being unable to visit her ailing 84-year-old mother, Trinidadian-born philanthropist Allison Harvey continues to do what she loves best – giving time and money to charitable causes and making a positive difference in people’s lives.
The Canada-based entrepreneur and two friends, Jilian Saweczko and Fernanda Silva, made a commitment earlier this month to sponsor four-year-old Haitian twin girls until they turn 18.
This act of kindness allows the underprivileged girls (Dashka and Dahana Monuma) to go to school at the Christian Academy of Petit-Goave in Haiti and help with their necessities.
"Every month, we will send money for them. Their mother could not afford for them to go to school. The money will take care of their needs. It also goes towards the teachers’ fees and ensuring they are fed.
"These children need a chance in life," Harvey said by WhatsApp.
Harvey has taken responsibility for paying for Dahana, and her two friends for Dashka.
Earlier this month, Harvey, who is in Canada, posted photos of the girls on her Facebook page and encouraged people to help other Haitian children get an education.
Of Dahana, Harvey said: "She is going to be a long-term commitment, that few can commit to or even want to. For as many years (as) God will bless me with, I commit to help raise my little Haitian daughter till she reaches adulthood.
"I may not be rich, but I have the ability to help. You, too, can commit to changing one life. You do not have to be rich. It costs less than a cup of coffee a day to help a child in Haiti get an education, food, clothing and the opportunity for a better life."
Owing to poverty, many students go hungry at weekends, as they depend on food at school.
Harvey said life has worsened for many people, especially the poor and vulnerable, and enjoys helping others.
She runs a travel business, which she said has been put on hiatus owing to the pandemic.
But she's also known as the Networking Diva, as the founder and CEO of the Networking Diva Group, a networking and advertising forum for small businesses.
She is also the CEO and founder of Woman on Fire Global (WOF), a "global movement of inspiration that changes female entrepreneurs and their companies' trajectory."
She is the founder of the non-profit organisation HOPE (hope, opportunity, purpose education) Crossing Borders.
For many years, she has been actively involved in many events and organisations, including the Christian Academy of Petit-Goave. The academy, which was established in 2014, has 150 registered students, ten Haitian staff, and two US staff. Its Facebook page says the Haitian staff members are paid a salary with school funds. But the two from the US, Beverly Burton and Madame Rachelle, are paid by "blessings abundant but receive no salary."
The page says, "We serve families without means to educate their children. Each student attends school at no cost, covered by individual partners or school funds."
Only some students are partnered with giving individuals or groups, and theschool is housed in a partially rented building.
"As of this year we have no more space, due to the increased number of students," the school reports. So it wants to buy land and start constructing its own building, complete with a church, sufficient classrooms and a recreation room.
As for Harvey's personal wishes, she hopes the Trinidad and Tobago Government grants her permission to visit her ailing mother as soon as possible.
"That will make me very happy," Harvey said.
Harvey said she has applied many times for an exemption without luck. She said her bedridden mother has Alzheimer's disease and other medical complications.
"I need to come home to see my mother. Every day I say a prayer because I do not know if I will ever see her alive again. She is at a nursing home in Arima," Harvey said.