Last week Guyana celebrated its 50th anniversary of Independence. In the post-colonial narrative of the Caribbean, Guyana has always been an enigma.
Today is National Day of Caring. The United Way T&T, a charitable organisation, which has been giving back to society and to those who are often overlooked, needs your support and caring heart to help the less fortunate in society. This is where you can make a difference in someone’s life by lending a hand.
Terrence Walker, co-ordinator of United Way T&T’s National Day of Caring said today’s event has attracted more companies and volunteers on board. He was confident that it would surpass last year’s success in charitable works for the needy while demonstrating corporate social responsibility. There were 59 companies at last year’s event, with 2,600 volunteers completing 75 projects. This year, 69 companies and approximately 3,000 volunteers are undertaking 68 projects.
Walker said while there are fewer projects this year, they are a greater variety and quality of projects which the companies and their volunteers can focus all their energies and resources on. United Way’s National Day of Caring helps charitable associations and those in need through physical labour, repair and refurbishment works, moral support and interaction.
Speaking at the Sunday Guardian’s offices on Thursday, Walker said, “UWTT had been in existence for the last ten years and the funds raised from the corporate sector are given as gifts and donations to deserving NGOs in various fields. “The organisation has collected approximately $4 million each year, and over the past nine years has disbursed $36 million to over 60 registered NGOs.
“We want to fulfill our objectives of unleashing a spirit of volunteerism throughout T&T, and we feel that by identifying directly and positively with the most vulnerable in the society we can also engender civic pride and national consciousness.”
UWTT’s activities for 18 children’s homes
The external affairs adviser for Atlantic LNG said for the last nine years UWTT held a day of activity for over 400 children from 18 children’s homes at Republic Bank’s Sport’s Club in Barataria. Walker said the children came and enjoyed various activities such as horse back and donkey riding, bouncy castles, karaoke and talent competitions. He said they were very entertaining events and it was unbelievable how many talented children there were in these homes.
Walker said two years ago, the NGO decided to add another element to the event that involved corporate T&T coming together and doing expanded projects throughout the country. The event’s name was changed to “National Day of Caring (NDOC).”
Projects throughout the country
He said the largest concentration of projects were in Port-of-Spain and environs, Arima, Mayaro, San Fernando, La Brea, Chaguanas, Couva, Diego Martin and environs, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro, Mayaro, the North Coast and three in Tobago.
The types of projects include environmental, beach clean-ups, planting of grow boxes, infrastructural, painting, building of houses, libraries, renovation and extension of existing structures, entertainment, photo booth and cricket match at the Republic Bank grounds and interactive, spending time with those less fortunate. Walker said Scotiabank and the Water and Sewerage Authority were involved with three river clean-ups, the Caura, Cunupia and Courland river in Tobago.
Not about throwing around $$
He said the various projects were not about throwing money around, but about people and companies getting involved directly and having a positive impact in their communities. Walker said last year, Building Spaces company spent $1 million on various projects, completely renovated Cyril Ross Nursery in Tunapuna, built a house in Maraval for a needy lady, and BG T&T donated $1 million in products to several NGOs and various senior citizens and children’s homes.
Walker also said that many of the projects were sustainable, such as First Citizens and Citi Bank working with Moms For Literacy. He said UWTT, sponsors and volunteers not only talked about helping, they did direct intervention because they cared and wanted to move beyond the level of rhetoric demonstrating to the needy people that there were people who cared about them and each other in the country. He said it wasn’t like they painted someone’s wall and left, but they did followups and interacted with the people.
Here to stay
Walker said the organisation was not going away and would only grow larger with corporate and community support. He said while they were expecting 3,000 volunteers, they had a model to unveil that would incorporate 300,000 volunteers when they expanded further into more communities. The people just needed the vehicle to accomplish the feat, he said.
Walker said UWTT wanted to set an example to the broader T&T society that they cared, so that more people will become involved in humanitarian work and social responsibility.
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