Over 200 tablets were received by schools across the island today during a hand-over ceremony at the Wildey Gymnasium, Wildey, St. Michael.
It was a collaborative effort between The Red Foundation and the Carrielynn Grazettes Cancer Foundation Atlanta Inc., which included a donation of 100 tablets by Ellerslie alumnus, Dr. Ricardo A. Knight, to his alma mater.
Speaking on behalf of the Red Foundation, Henderson Griffith, said that the organisation, associated with Cultural Ambassador Stedson Wiltshire aka Red Plastic Bag, aimed to bring like-minded individuals and agencies “together to work towards strengthening communities and facilitating guidance for at-risk youth in communities across the island”.
He added that together with the Carrielynn Grazettes Cancer Foundation Atlanta Inc., they launched an initiative to support Barbadians in battling COVID-19. He also stressed the foundations’ commitment to the island.
“We recognized that it would take a couple of years before the impact of COVID-19 normalises for Barbadians; the diaspora must come together and support Barbados and our fellow Barbadians in this time of need,” he maintained.
Principal of The Ellerslie School, Lieutenant Colonel Errol Brathwaite, in welcoming the 100 tablets, said: “This donation will equip many of those students who do not have devices, and who have not been able to participate in the online teaching and learning process during the COVID-19 lockdown period.”
With Mr. Knight watching via livestream, he further expressed gratitude for the “generous donation” and noted that the school was fortunate to have “amazing alumni members” like him, who continued to support it in tangible ways.
“Your generosity will positively impact the lives of our students, those present and indeed those in the future; your donations give our students pride and unrelenting motivation because you believe in them and this is clear through your efforts. We are incredibly thankful for donors such as you,” the principal stated.
Lt. Col. Brathwaite also noted the role played by alumna Vilma Bradshaw, in making an appeal on social media for a computer for one student, which resulted in Dr. Knight’s decision to donate the tablets.
Reading from a statement written by Dr. Knight, he highlighted how the student’s circumstances had touched this alumnus, living and working in Chicago, and who had been in a similar socio-economic circumstance while attending Ellerslie from 1976 to 1980, barely having “access to a pencil and writing paper”.
He added that while Dr. Knight’s initial mission was to help the one child, he “understood for everyone like her, there were sure to be 100 other children in the same situation”, so he decided to buy 100 tablets for the children of Ellerslie.
The principal further thanked the Red Foundation and the Carrielynn Grazettes Cancer Foundation Atlanta Inc. for sourcing the 100 tablets along with the others, negotiating the price, getting them to Barbados and coordinating the efforts with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training.
Noting that blended learning might be with us for some time, Lt. Col. Brathwaite added: “Unless we have the tools our children will not be able to participate in that very important online teaching and learning process.”
Along with The Ellerslie School, there were several primary schools receiving tablets. These included Ignatius Byer, Christ Church Girls’, St. Judes, Milton Lynch and West Terrace.