Use education to break cycle of poverty, lecturer says

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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LECTURER at the College of Business and Management at the University of Technology, Jamaica Dr Neleen Leslie-Piper says education should be viewed as one of the surest ways to break generational cycles of poverty.

Speaking to scholarship recipients at the J Wray & Nephew Foundation (JWNF) Scholarship Awards Ceremony at the Courtleigh Auditorium last week Wednesday, where 275 students were awarded close to $17 million in scholarships, said the communities from which students come should in no way determine their outcome in life

Dr Leslie Piper said, too, that students who are faced with challenging situations should be encouraged to remain focused as well as take advantage of available opportunities that will guarantee them a quality education.

“When I look at the communities that the awardees are from, I am particularly pleased,” Dr Leslie Piper noted. “As a country girl, I know the struggles that the youth in our less affluent and rural communities face in finding opportunities to pursue their dreams. And so I want to thank the JWN Foundation for their focus on these communities.”

The lecturer used her own experiences as an example, noting that she, too, encountered her fair share of economic challenges, but did not waver or get derailed in her pursuit of academic and personal success.

“My first piece of advice is to bloom where you are planted. Many of us come from communities that are not the wealthiest or the most developed. Some of us have taken the non-traditional route to education, working to fund our studies.

“We do without some things that so many others — even our friends, classmates and colleagues — take for granted. But what I know, and I hope you know by now, is that where we come from, the communities we grow up in, our immediate circumstances, are not the biggest determinants of our success — we are,” Dr Leslie-Piper pointed out.

The foundation's Chairman Clement 'Jimmy' Lawrence described the awards ceremony as a celebration of the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice made by highly motivated students, parents, and teachers.

“We at the JWN Foundation recognise that this investment transcends the individual and also has a transformational effect on families and communities. We hold firm in our belief that our investment will ultimately serve to mould and empower Jamaica's future leaders, [and] in so doing, contribute to national development,' Lawrence said.

In the meantime, Lorenzo Blake, a scholarship recipient who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said the foundation should be lauded for the work it is doing in education and also in “transforming lives”.

“I would like to extend a hearty thank you to the J Wray & Nephew Foundation for not just giving these scholarships, but for believing in our youth. They say our youth are our future, and you can safely say that you are investors in the future of our nation,” he noted.


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