One of the primary needs of the community of Riverton is to get all children attending school regularly. Individuals, along with Students Crossing Borders and Seneca College, have responded by sponsoring a number of children in the community.
The school-leaving exercises – the 6 year-olds are moving on to primary school – oh so serious!
One of the primary needs of the Riverton community is to get all children in school, and attending regularly, however, in Jamaica everyone pays fees for their children to attend. They need money for books, uniforms, bus fare, extra classes as mandated by the schools, and in most cases, tuition. Due to the lack of financial resources of their parents, the education of many of Jamaica’s children is compromised. Some children are unable to attend on any one day because there is no money for bus fare (schools are rarely within walking distance), or for a lunch. As a result of their sporadic attendance, there can be big gaps in the children’s understanding, knowledge and skills, putting them at risk of failure, or of dropping out of school altogether.
In response to this dilemma, past SCB trip participants and their families and friends have committed to helping out families in the community by committing to donate a portion of school fees. At this point we are helping over 45 children in the community, all of whom are at different levels of education. There are, however, many more children who can use help.
We know sponsorship works! We hear of the successes of the children – often directly from the children or their mothers. Romaine, who has been sponsored for a few years, just completed his GSATS (the national testing of all children in Grade 6) and scored the highest marks in the entire region. In addition, he won over 12 awards for scholarship, athletic achievement, and character. Rina, also sponsored, completed her GSATS and scored the highest in her class. She too won a number of awards at her school. Another child, Richard, finished his GSATS and has been accepted into St. George’s College, considered to be one of the best schools in Jamaica. Other sponsored children, who were really struggling with basic literacy and math skills, are now flourishing because they are able to attend school every day. Children who are now attending regularly are talking about their aspirations because now they know they have opportunities available to them.
Each trip to Jamaica and to Riverton, we get to see the children we sponsor, hear about their schooling and see their report cards. We have been invited to their graduations, and they have shared their accomplishments with us. Junior Rowe, the principal of the school and community activist, helps to identify children in need of sponsorship and ensures that the children receive the money that is sent for them. Unlike many other organizations, 100% of your donations go to sponsorship. We are a volunteer organization and have no administration costs.