Sophia, East La Penitence benefitting from US$57,000 afterschool sessions

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with the Nations University here to offer after-school programmes to children of East La Penitence and Sophia.

Director of the School of the Nation, Dr. Brian O’Toole.

USAID has identified vulnerable areas it wants to focus on and has sought to offer children of the selected communities opportunities to have a better quality of life.

The programme, which has already commenced, will run for some six months and is being overlooked by the School of the Nation. Classes offered include Art, Music, and Computer Science among others.

“USAID has determined what communities and within Sophia to work sections C to E. For every student we identify …part of it is to learn lessons that could be taken to the government to say this is our experience from these resources and these are the tangible results.”

Dr. Brian O’Toole, Director of the School of the Nations and Program Manager said facilitators will seek to understand the students’ reading and numerical abilities, along with a study of their psychological attitude. If the approach is successful, it is hoped that the programme could be extended to government.

“If it indeed succeeds, then we sit down with Social Protection, the Ministry of Education and say here is a project that works, let’s see what kind of investment is needed because otherwise, we are not going to solve these problems,” Dr. O’Toole said.

The university has for the first time collaborated with the Nancy Campbell Academy in Ontario, Canada. That institution has agreed to provide some amount of training to those involved in the programme. The school will be working with 25 children between the ages of 10 and 16 from Sophia and the same number from East La Penitence.

According to Dr. O’Toole, that may be a bit challenging, however, there are many other students who are desirous of participating in the programme.

Program Coordinator, for the East La Penitence community, Louisa Mansey said the team is looking forward to the next six months, noting that the programme could be extended to other areas as well.

“The programme will be running every day after school. We will be engaging them for as long as the school term is in. So, some of it will happen in the community at the Brickdam Community and some will be happening here at the School of the Nations.”


By: Alexis Rodney


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