BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 13, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris made his single largest investment yet towards the educational advancement of the children from his Constituency (Belle Vue to Ottley’s), when he provided financial assistance to some 140 students as part of his legacy initiative—the Help-a-Child Primary Scholarship programme.
The 2019 installment of the scholarship grant programme was held on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at the Estridge Moravian Church in Mansion Village.
Held for an unprecedented 16th year, the Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris Help-a-Child initiative provides a bursary of $500 to each student selected.
Addressing the large turnout at Tuesday’s event, Prime Minister Harris said he is proud that the scholarship programme, which prepares the young recipients to take on challenges and become the leaders of the future, has grown and continues to grow.
“When we started some 16 years ago, we had some 16 students drawn from the feeder communities which now make up the four primary schools in Constituency 7. Last year, that figure grew to…85 students benefiting. Today we have come to make it the best [as] 140 students will receive grants from the Help-a-Child Programme,” the honourable prime minister said.
The 140 recipients at Tuesday’s ceremony brought the total amount awarded under the Help-a-Child Programme to $364,000, and the total number of awardees to 728 during the programme’s 16-year history.
Prime Minister Harris continued, “This programme is a clear sign of my commitment to educating and making a difference in the lives of our young people. If you had told me when we started way back then that the Help-a-Child Programme as we dubbed it would be still going strong 16 years later and would have helped over 700 students, it would have put a large smile on my face and perhaps I would have approached this with even more determination in my heart.”
Dr. Harris said it is hoped that the assistance provided under the Help-a-Child Programme helps to ease the financial burden on the receiving families, “whether it is to purchase a new school uniform, books or equipment.”
“The $500 grant is crucial in helping families to meet these costs and it gives them real choice.
Some malicious critics may say ‘$500 is not a large sum of money.’ But try saying that to parents who find it difficult to find the money to pay for the basic necessities. $500 means a lot to these parents who worry about how these basic necessities will impact upon their ability to pay the rent; to pay their electricity bill which was increased by 85 percent by the past administration; to pay their water bill that was increased by 600 percent by the former administration. These families will be appreciative of the $500 grant which we provide today and the difference that it makes,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
The successful candidates, who demonstrated academic potential, were chosen by primary school principals and teachers, as well as community members.