TSTT staff empower over 140 kids at 13 Children’s Homes
Employees of Trinidad and Tobago’s leading communications provider, TSTT, have already begun mobilizing their individual and group contributions towards their ninth annual Book Buddies Programme. Since 2009 more than 500 of TSTT’s staff, managers and executives, have provided back-to-school books, uniforms and other material to over 1,000 children at Children’s Homes and shelters. The employees’ personal contributions to date have exceeded $1.5M
This unique initiative is one of the pillars of the bmobile Foundation which reaches out to the Homes each year, inviting them to submit book lists for children in their care. More than 20 institutions have been included in this project and some employees request to sponsor the same child they’ve sponsored in the past, therefore, genuinely committing to these children’s futures.
Notwithstanding economic challenges, this year staff are supporting 140 primary school and secondary school children from 13 Homes.
Betty-Anne Olton, a Business Analyst in TSTT’s Operational Efficiency Department is a regular donor who believes in the Book Buddies Programme providing empowerment through education.
“As employees we are always passionate about this venture every single year,” she stated. “There are sections of the company who get together as a group to sponsor 10-12 book lists. By pooling their resources, they can do more, than if they were to, individually. The children are already in challenging circumstances and it is critical for them to have what is necessary for education. It’s their jump-off point for anywhere they want to go in life.”
Even though the Programme is centred on creating an academic avenue for these youngsters, it also plays an integral role in developing better work relations among the hosts’ employees.
Olton, who will be sponsoring a Form One student this time around, added, “It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that we’re helping the future generations. It is really a fantastic initiative to support children on the whole and it also motivates the employees to do better.”
In TSTT Tobago, Marissa Guppy from the Enterprise, Marketing and Communications Department is one of several employees assisting students in the sister-isle. “As a volunteer, I believe I can contribute directly towards helping a child achieve his/her dreams through education,” she said. “I have been a part of this initiative previously and I was inspired that so many of my fellow employees were on board. It’s like a responsibility to give back to the less fortunate. It’s a great experience seeing our employees coming together and working towards a good cause.”
Expressing her heartfelt gratitude to the staff of TSTT for their warm gesture was Manager of the Tobago-based Sylphil Home in Love, Susan Phillips-Jack. The caregiver applauded both the short and long-term benefits of the Book Buddies Programme and held in high regard, those who openly contribute to the educational development of young minds on a national scale.
“This is a great initiative taken up by TSTT. The Home has been having some challenges obtaining our subventions so this gesture to donate textbooks, stationery and school uniforms is really divine intervention,” she stated.
Phillips-Jack assured that the donated items would be well kept by their new owners and put to good use. She shared, “Most of the children were born in to or have inherited social challenges. Education is their key to moving past these obstacles and paving a new way to success in life. Material things can be destroyed but a sound education cannot be taken from you. I would like to thank TSTT, in particular their employees, for what they are doing for these young boys and girls.”
Some of the other beneficiary Homes of this year’s Book Buddies Programme are Cyril Ross Nursery, St. Dominics Children’s Home, Credo Development Centre, Rainbow Rescue, Bridge of Hope, Joshua Boys (Eternal Light Community), Raffa House, Swaha Vishok Bhavan, Islamic Home for Children, Marian House, Ferndean’s Children’s home, Margaret Kistow Children’s Home, Sylphil Home of Love, Tobago.