2,500 needy students in St James to benefit from back-to-school grants
ST JAMES, Jamaica – Approximately 2,500 needy students are to benefit from back-to-school grants, totalling $17 million, from the St James Municipal Corporation.
Vouchers valued over $5,000 each are being provided to youngsters across the parish through a collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
These will be distributed over a one-week period, starting August 23, at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.
They can be used to purchase essential school supplies and textbooks for students at the infant, primary and secondary levels.
Addressing parents on day one of the municipal corporation’s annual back-to-school education support presentation on Wednesday, Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Richard Vernon, said the initiative represents a tangible step towards promoting educational equality and helping persons in need.
He noted that the voucher distribution “is just a part of what we do on a larger scale for educational grants”.
“This also marks about six years since we have partnered with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to do back-to-school educational grants, and we are looking [at] somewhere about $80 million in terms of… investment in education… over that period,” the deputy mayor said.
Councillor Vernon emphasised the steadfast belief by the citizens of Montego Bay in the transformative power of education, describing it as a catalyst for positive change.
“We believe that education is important. We believe that education still has the capability of moving persons out of a particular situation into a better situation. Therefore, we find it very necessary to invest in our youngsters and help alleviate the economic burden that they experience,” he added.
Hundreds of parents who turned out on day one of the voucher distribution exercise had high praises for the assistance from the municipal corporation.
Garfield Robinson, who resides at Barracks Road, expressed gratitude for the initiative, noting that the support will come in handy as he makes final preparations to send his son back to school.
“The vouchers we are getting will give an extra push for me because doing everything on your own kind of puts a strain on you. But with this, it brings a great impact and help towards what I am doing for my son,” he said.
A grateful Margo Smith said the donation’s impact will be far-reaching.
“We are really appreciative of this venture that the parish council [municipal corporation] is doing for the community,” Smith stated.