Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 30, 2015) – It was a case of second time lucky for Ms Melissa Headley of Molineux Village. Her area parliamentary representative, the Hon Dr Timothy Harris, has over the last 12 years been giving out cash grants to needy pupils and her son has benefitted two years back-to-back.
For parents of pupils attending the four primary schools in Constituency Seven, Violet Petty in Lodge, Joshua O. Williams in Molineux, Estridge in Mansion, and Edgar T. Morris in Tabernacle, the Dr Harris Help-A-Child Programme has been a welcome intervention.
“Prime Minister Harris is a good man, who is ready to help others,” said Ms Headley, whose eight-year old son Macalion Gardener is a third grader at Joshua O. Williams Primary School. “I know he had this scholarship programme running for some years since he was a government minister.
“The programme continued even when he was out of government, and that I know because my son was a beneficiary last year when Dr Harris was in opposition. This year, more children have benefitted and my son too. I guess as the years go by, the more funds he raises for the scholarships, he will give them out and that is good for the people and the students.”
Ms Headley, who is a teacher at the Holy Catholic Preschool in Molineux, said that the chance her son and other children in the area have gotten through the Prime Minister’s initiative would go a long way to make them responsible citizens in the future, and that is what a young nation like St. Kitts and Nevis needs.
Her son Macalion reported that his grade teacher is Ms Francis and that his favourite subject is maths. Though only eight years old, he already knows what he wants to do when he is through with schooling at the highest level.
“I will want to work when I finish school,” said Macalion, but on being pressed what type of work he expected to do, he said: “I want to be a doctor. Last year I also got a scholarship and I want to thank the Prime Minister. I was very happy to have a picture taken with the Prime Minister.”
The 12th Annual Help-A-Child Programme was held on October 15 at the Molineux Seventh Day Adventist Church and was attended by parents of the 45 pupils who benefitted, along with their other relatives. Joining and giving support to the Prime Minister were ambassadors Michael Powell, Sydney Osborne, and Constance Mitcham, and Senator Wendy Phipps.
Coming out of Carty’s Pasture in Tabernacle was Ms Vernice Challenger, whose eight-year old daughter Kellicia Challenger is a Grade Two pupil at the Edgar T. Morris Primary School. She shares an address with her child’s benefactor and Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis the Hon Dr Timothy Harris.
“The prime minister is very thoughtful, kind, and generous,” said Ms Challenger. “My family and I, and especially my bigger brothers, grew up with him years ago, and we know he is a wonderful man. He gives to those who really need it, and even if you do not need it, he will still give to you, because it is the way he is.”
According to Ms Challenger, the Prime Minister is especially concerned about the welfare of school-age children and he ensures nothing hinders their progress in their studies. She noted that his concern and love for children is borne out of the fact that while going to school, he received assistance from relatives and friends and that is something he always talks about.
“He has always been there for us, my family and I, so I can say that about the prime minister,” observed Ms Challenger. “We are not related but we have been neighbours for years, we all live like family. He looks out for people irrespective of whether they are family or not. He always looks out for others, even if he does not know you, he will help. That is the kind of person he really is.”
She attended the Tabernacle All Age School, the same school the Prime Minister had attended before her, and now the same school her daughter is attending. However, it has now been renamed the Edgar T. Morris Primary School.
“But his generosity goes beyond his former school,” noted Ms Challenger. “I know a few others who have been assisted by this programme who are doing well in life, and he has been very helpful to those and many others that I do not know and all that because he is generous and kind. They are very happy, as well, to get the assistance from the Prime Minister.”
Her daughter Kellicia Challenger said that her class teacher is Ms Smith and her favourite subject is maths. She said that with the money she received from the Prime Minister she was going to buy books and if any change is left she would want to buy an I-pad kindle.
“The Prime Minister shook my hand and gave me money,” said Kellicia. “He lives up here, yes, and I see him pass going to Basseterre most of the days. When I finish school, I want to be a chef and work on a cruise ship. Thank you very much Prime Minister.”
Coordinator of Help-A-Child Programme Ms Myrtilla Williams said that 350 promising primary school students in Constituency Seven had so far received support to a tune of $165,000 in the programme’s 12-year history. She advised that while previously they had 24 students each receiving $500 from the programme, the number had this year risen to 45.