Children learn how they can develop Trinidad and Tobago at IDB Cheer Fair

Children use Lego blocks to build what they want Chaguanas to look like at the IDB Cheer Fair, Saith Park, Chaguanas on August 27.
Children use Lego blocks to build what they want Chaguanas to look like at the IDB Cheer Fair, Saith Park, Chaguanas on August 27. - MARVIN HAMILTON


Getting children interested in the roles they can play in the future of Trinidad and Tobago is what the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) set out to do at last month's Cheer Fair in Chaguanas.

Held at Saith Park, Chaguanas, on August 27, the theme behind the fair follows that of the IADB's 2025 vision of reinvesting in the Americas. The booths reflected that, highlighting from architecture to engineering.

One booth, in particular, was designed for children only with the intention of getting them interested in architecture with the help of Legos. John Ferraz, a former architect of Udecott, said his main goal is getting children to understand that they would be the ones to develop Chaguanas and any area in the country, and even the world. Ferraz was responsible for the San Fernando Waterfront design and aided in the Port of Spain development project.

"What I do at these Cheer Fairs, I give out paper birds and encourage young people to build with legos, however, I want them to have a vision of what Chaguanas can be. So, I've brought models to show them the process of how architects build a house of the future."

On his table, he had a model of the "house of the future" that was fully wooden and vertical, but wide so there would be enough space for tenants to live above a mall. He then recalled the impact he's had on young people in previous fairs and how he was thanked by their parents for it. He's also seen young adults become professionals in related careers.

"The last time we had this programme was around two-and-a-half years ago, and out of 18 people we had that programme with, all of them became engineers, architects and industrial designers. We even had one aeronautical engineer."

He said the response from the children to this year's fair has been fantastic and added, "We expect these children to become future architects, engineers and designers."

At another booth, Zindzi John, sustainability and low carbon lead for NewGen Energy Ltd, explained that the company's purpose is to get TT to produce ammonia from a cleaner source of hydrogen which can be derived from green energy such as solar power panels.

"Hydrogen derives from the use of combined cycle generation which uses wasted heat that comes from the single cycle heat turbines. The difference that our project wants to create in this country is to obviously create job promotion, but also with the main intention of helping the environment. By doing so, we won't be using any additional carbon molecules to create electricity."

NewGen Energy Ltd representative Zindzi John replaces the benefits of green energy at the IDB Cheer Fair, Saith Park, Chaguanas on August 27. - MARVIN HAMILTON

She said when this hydrogen is produced, it will be sold to companies that use it to create ammonia which is already a lucrative industry in TT since ammonia is sold to create fertilisers.

"After we explain this project to the visitors, we ask them to describe it in one word and we have gotten words such as interesting, hope, innovative and excitement. We hope to now live up to these expectations."

These words were seen written on a whiteboard at the booth by passers-by, some of them children. John said most patrons were young and was glad to have that interaction with them in person.

Following the development theme, Public Space Global, which has been around for two years, allows people to access the resources to develop their communities and build in empty spaces there.

Renelle Sarjeant, the founder of the company, said, "We want to give people the tools to do it themselves, they don't have to wait on the corporation or ministry. You can take simple materials and do it yourself, but we also work with communities at low costs to design public spaces.”

At the booth, the architectural technician, Cameron Thomas, made a design of Saith Park on a computer and they allowed people to redesign the park and change it to their liking.

“That’s what we’re really about, helping people design their urban spaces could be any type of space, a play park or the centre of the city. We're really passionate about urban development and we don't want to wait on anyone, we just want to do it."

Sarjeant explained that it doesn’t cost much to fund these projects since they rely on discarded tyres, tools, unused paints and borrowed mats and plants.

“It’s not like we had to spend exorbitant sets of money, just a couple hundred dollars. You, too, can take a simple vacant space, maybe the grass is overgrown, cut it, put something down and then it becomes a space that children or older people can use.”

She said the response from the onlookers has been great with all of the people who stopped and learned what the company is about. Sarjeant said Public Space Global will be taking on more community-based projects soon.


"Children learn how they can develop Trinidad and Tobago at IDB Cheer Fair"

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