Five schools in regions Two and Six along with the University of Guyana recently benefitted from donations of art material, science and sports equipment, and textbooks among other items, estimated at more than $8 million. The items provided by Canadian professor Rita Persaud and other overseas donors are intended to enrich the academic and extra-curricular lives of the students.
The five schools which received the donations are: Berbice High School, Cotton Field Secondary School, JC Chandisingh, Abraham Zuil Secondary, and Anna Regina Secondary School. The University of Guyana also benefitted from the donations.
Among the items that have arrived are: 10 cameras, 4 guitars, 9 violins, 2 pianos, 1 trombone, lab equipment, 2 saxophones, 2 telescopes, 5 calculators, 1 Slinky (physics lab prop), 3 sewing machines, 4 microscopes, 60 books including novels, 50 pieces of new clothing, 10 pieces of traditional Indian wear, 10 pairs of footwear, 5 badminton racquets, 5 tennis racquets, 2 dinner sets for the Home Economics department, 1 chessboard, 2 skateboards, 2 walkers, 1 magnetic set, 3 tapestry pieces, 2 ceramic abstract art pieces, 12 paintings, 1 phone charger, 1 scale and 1 scooter.
Persaud, who is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Capital Management at Bellevue University in Nebraska, US was born in Guyana but left these shores back in the 1980s. The items were first received by the Ministry of Education before they were sent to the respective schools.
Back in 2018, with the help of donors, Persaud was able to donate 150 computers to several schools resulting in them starting computer hubs or ensuring that each subject department had access to one. Realising the impact she made on the lives of the teachers and students three years ago has motivated the professor to be continually filling up a box or barrel every time she comes across something she feels can add value to their lives.
In the past, the University of Guyana has benefitted from Harvard University textbooks. The professor shares that it was in the process of collecting the books that people learning of her humanitarian project, wanted to send musical instruments or whatever they had that they knew would be of some help. With many persons knowing of Persaud’s dedication to the schools, they would sometimes reach out to her before she could contact them.
Prior to leaving Guyana in the 80s, the professor taught at Berbice High School. She marvelled at the idea of teaching with only GCE (General Certificate of Education) passes. At present, she holds the position of professor at George Brown College, is a director at Evergreen College, and is the President/CEO of Napp Canada.
Once taught by Professor Persaud herself, Annabelle Ramnarine is now the headmistress of JC Chandisingh Secondary School in Region 6. The teacher shared that the secondary school was among the 5 to receive the computers that were sent some years ago. She noted that the school has 10 departments, each of which has a computer so that the teachers could type out their test papers, among other tasks. “We are very thankful for that. Headmaster of Anna Regina Secondary School in Region 2, Laljeet Rooplall, also acknowledged the donations and added that they will go a far way in enhancing the students’ education. He shared that they benefitted from 4 microscopes which he said will be a great addition to their science labs. Some of the paintings that were sent his way will be hung in their auditorium.
Persaud is hopeful that her charitable causes will motivate others to be more benevolent to those in need.