Tobago Pan-Thers Steel Orchestra and the Digicel Foundation have collaborated to open a new homework centre and after-school programme in Golden Lane.
The initiative was launched on Wednesday at the Tobago Pan-Thers panyard in Seaview Trace, Golden Lane.
Through this partnership, Tobago Pan-Thers received funding to develop the project. Renovations were done to bring the space up to standard; computers, printers and other equipment were acquired as well as internet access; and the space was generally outfitted to make it fully functional.
Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe commended the steel orchestra on the initiative and also praised the Digicel Foundation for recognising its social responsibility.
“We’re happy that Digicel is on board – the private sector stepping up and showing out – because oftentimes we depend so heavily on Central Government, and it doesn’t have to start and end there. It could start with your private group and the private sector also has its duty to step in, and I salute Digicel because they take their job and their responsibility very seriously.”
Digicel Foundation director Georgina Peterkin said the project gives her hope for the community.
“On behalf of Digicel Foundation, I wish to thank all the partners in this project for their unwavering support and dedication to meeting the evolving needs of the community and the youths. I know that we shall share the same hope that these centres would be well used and benefit all members of the community by easing access to online education, other services and so much more."
THA Division of Community Development, Youth Development and Sport officer with responsibility for the area, Nathalia Joseph, pledged her support.
“As your youth officer, it is my responsibility to support this initiative in the best way I can. One of the ways I intend to do so is to implement a homework-centre programme that I myself would have run in the Signal Hill community.”
She added that for such a programme to be successful, there must be volunteers: "Sixth-form students, university students, retired teachers, persons who just have a knack for training and teaching and just caring about other persons.
"I would be here, and I would be here at least once per day and I would be giving my time as youth officer but not just my time, also my expertise in ensuring that this youth development centre is the first of its kind.”
She said she has already sourced one sponsor.
“Before we go where the money is, I want us to go where our hearts are. I want us to go where all the things that I’ve heard – the cries, the challenges, the complaints.
"Wherever those things are, I want us to put our hearts into it,” she said, adding that the Digicel Foundation had done its part.
Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore was also at the launch.