THE Diageo Learning for Life programme — an initiative of Red Stripe Jamaica — has committed to providing $5 million to cover educational grants and bursaries for 1,400 students of HEART Trust/NTA in the new academic year.
A cheque, valued at 50 per cent of the total sum, was handed over by trustees of the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation — controllers of the Diageo Learning for Life Programme — to Dr Carolyn Hayle, executive director of the HEART Trust/NTA, on June 26. The handover took place at HEART's head office in Kingston.
Dianne Ashton-Smith, communications manager at Red Stripe, said the donation will go a far way in helping needy students islandwide to learn a skill.
"This will give the students a huge opportunity for empowerment, for skills training and that's the way the world is going," Aston-Smith told the Jamaica Observer, following the handover ceremony.
"It's all about sustainable development, enriching our communities [and] ensuring that Jamaica is on the path to wealth creation. It also provides them [the 1,400 students who stand to benefit] with an opportunity to give back to their communities and grow Jamaica," she added.
Already the Diageo Learning for Life programme has helped hundreds of individuals to gain skills training. Approximately 600 students graduated in June 2011 from training programmes funded under the initiative.
Dr Hayle, for her part, said there was no discounting the value of Red Stripe's contribution, which she expects will go a far way in helping to facilitate wealth creation, through skills training, on the island.
"As Mrs Ashton-Smith said, it [the donation] is really about wealth creation and creating a sustainable development stream. The more skills you have, the more likely you are to achieve your dream... and the more you will be able to earn," Hayle said.