School cash grant integral to hinterland students’ education

The importance of the ‘Because We Care’, school uniform and supplies cash grants are continuing to manifest, especially in the hinterland communities where opportunities to earn are sparse.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP, hands over the cash to a resident of Kato in the presence of Village Toshao [right] and Regional Chairman, Headly Pio [far right]

For Arlene Fredericks, a mother of one from Kato, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), the possibility of returning her child to school was slim; however, after receiving the $30,000 today at Kato Primary, she assured that her child will attend school when it reopens in September.

“I will use it wisely to get the things I need for my child, school things and bag. Without that [government support] we wouldn’t get enough to send them back to school. We will use it wisely to get the things we cannot afford; the pencils the ribbons and stuff like that.”

Nikita Pio receives the money for her three school children from Regional Chairman, Headly Pio

Nikita Pio, a mother of three, also underscored that the Because We Care grant is paramount for parents living in the hinterland.

“It is important right now because our children right now need the money, so I think this grant is helping my children to buy the uniform. You know sometimes it is hard for the parents to get the money. I think it’s helping us, helping the parents especially the parents that are very poor and needy.”

Noel Fredericks noted that “this initiative is a very good initiative. I’m proud of it for the hinterland students of Guyana. What I feel today is so pleased that our government is doing a better job since they took office in 2020. So, I feel if we should give him [Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali] another 5-year term, I expect it to be more. We are happy to have this support. It will help us a lot in providing the little that they [children] need to continue school.”

Mother of three, Arlene Fredericks

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP, oversaw the launch of the students’ cash grant in Kato (sub-district 1 of Region Eight).

She reminded that government is ensuring all students in the education system from Nursery to Secondary, receive the cash pay-out.

“This financial support is not only for the public schools, but we have made a commitment to the private schools also, that we will ensure that students that are Guyanese will receive the same support like students in the public schools are getting. This is something I’m very proud about; a government that is true to its commitment, a government that wants to ensure that whether you live on the coast or whether you live in the hinterland that there is equity in what we are doing.”

The ‘Because We Care cash grant’ for every registered school child is an initiative birthed by a previous PPP/C Government and rolled out in 2014, to ensure every child have the means to attend school, regardless of geography and topography.

Though halted in 2015 by the previous government, the cash grant programme was resuscitated by the Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Government in 2020.

Not only was the initiative restarted, but the cash pay-out to children increased astronomically, by as much as 250 per cent.

When the project was launched, every school child was receiving $10,000 under the Because We Care programme; however, in 2022, every child is entitled to $25,000 under the same programme.

The total sum for every child is $30,000 as the school uniform and supplies grant is now pegged at $5,000. 

Minister Sukhai is adamant that children must be afforded the opportunity to be educated.

“We need to keep our children in school, we need to ensure that we assist them at whatever level of work we are capable of assisting them at the school level. We must not forget that you the parents are the first teachers and you have to instil in your child the love for education,” Minister Sukhai said.

In Region Eight, $135,030,000 is being distributed to parents and guardians of the 4,501 registered students; 1,621 in sub-district 2 and the remaining 2880 in sub-district 1.

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