#Jamaica, August 16, 2017 – Kingston – Back-to-school preparation has been made easier for the families of 20 high-school students in the parish of St. Catherine with bursaries totaling $300,000 presented by the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF). The children were presented with the educational grants today (August 15), at the St. Catherine parish office of the Social Development Commission (SDC), in Spanish Town.
Executive Director of the PAEF, Pauline Gregory-Lewis, told the gathering that, in 2015, four students were supported by the organisation; in 2016, they increased the number to nine beneficiaries, and, this year, the support has been extended to 20 students.
She said once the students maintain their focus in school and B averages in their grades, the Foundation will assist them. “And, as they are attaining the B average throughout high school, we will try our best to give them continuous support,” Mrs. Gregory-Lewis said.
While imploring parents to encourage their children to sustain high marks in school, the Executive Director emphasised that high school is a “wider world” than what the primary-school system is, so “keep your focus so that you will be able to do well”.
For SDC Community Development Officer, Rushane Bailey, the PAEF is allowing children to reach their potential in education and have skills for the workforce and entrepreneurial ventures. Mr. Bailey also called on parents to seek help for their children, even as he lauded the Foundation for their “great work”.
Meanwhile, Assistant Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church, Reverend Norman Mills, encouraged the students to “strive to be the best that you can, and remain worthwhile persons of dignity, through discipline”.
The PAEF is in its fourth year of operation, and manages projects that include training in entrepreneurial enterprises, such as apiculture and poultry-rearing, with assistance from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Bodles Research Centre, Food For The Poor and other corporate entities.