Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 20, 2016 (SKNIS): Sixty students from four primary schools in Constituency #7 received a helping hand from their Parliamentary Representative and Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, that will assist their parents to provide the necessary school supplies as they continue their studies.
A total of $30,000 was awarded to 60 students from the Joshua O. Williams, Edgar T. Morris, Violet Petty and Estridge Primary Schools at the 13th Annual Help A Child Programme ceremony held on Wednesday (October 19) at the Estridge Moravian Church, Mansion.
Before presenting the donations, Prime Minister Harris recounted his own childhood and noted that the financial support and strong encouragement he received from family members and friends, while he was a student at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels made a tremendous difference and allowed him to achieve his goals.
In contrast, he referred to the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, a national of Pakistan who grew up in an area under Taliban rule. The extremist group is opposed to female education and Malala was shot in the forehead by militants in October 2012 when she was 11 years. Fortunately, she survived and has become an activist for education. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work in the field.
Prime Minister Harris said that St. Kitts and Nevis values education and quoted Malala when he touched on the impact one gesture can have.
“She said one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world,” Dr. Harris stated, ending Malala’s quote. “Imagine here you have 60 students who will be able to buy 60 pens each if they wish with their awards, and we have across the four schools, somewhere near to 60 teachers or at least half of that, so imagine what a difference can be made in the world, not just in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“That is why this Team Unity Administration spends millions of dollars every year in student awards and support at the tertiary level and millions more for study leave with pay (for government workers),” he added.
Citizens from St. Kitts and Nevis are spread out around the world pursuing tertiary education. Some are as close as Barbados, Cuba, Saint Lucia, St. Thomas and Trinidad in the Caribbean while others are farther afield such as in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia and many more.
“Nation building needs a foundation, and like every house, if the foundation is shaky the house will fall down,” Prime Minister Harris said. “Education is our foundation. It’s the bedrock that enables us to build a better nation’ enables us to know how to live in a way that distinguishes us as an international player and which is a mark of our cultivation and civilization.
“It’s important therefore that we all work together in unity to create the right environment for learning. That means that we value and support our teachers in the important work that they do in inspiring our young people to develop a love for learning.”
Dr. Harris called on families to assist members as they undertake studies at various levels and thanked the parents who came out on Wednesday to support their children. He also thanked the sponsors and individuals that have contributed to the programme over the years.
The Help A Child Programme Primary School Scholarship Award has helped some 435 students to date and has contributed about $217,500.