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By: Mercia Bassue ,

Some of the most accomplished men and women the world over, accredit their success to the benevolent acts of some individual or group who provided well needed resources at a turning point in their lives. As a matter of fact, many have expressed profound gratitude, indicating that had it not been for these humanitarian gestures, they would not have excelled through school, college or university. The practice of donating to less privileged students is one that many organizations in the federation have adopted throughout the years; in collaboration with educational institutions, community groups and the social welfare. Institutions such as The Cable, Social Security Board, TDC, Kajola Kristada, Ross University, The Taiwanese Embassy, and Sandy Point Benevolent Society are a few of the many donors within St. Kitts and Nevis who have shaped the lives of our nation, through monetary investments in students. Many politicians have joined in cushioning the financial strains of parents at the opening of the school year. The popular ‘Help a Child Program’ initiated by the Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris established in 2002 has set the tone for the philanthropic gestures by politicians, in assisting students in their education. The monies invested so far in this program stands at $364,000 with over 720 recipients receiving $500. The prime minister uses this avenue to ‘give back’ to those in his constituency who may not be as financially blessed as others. The prime minister often reflects on the monetary assistance towards his education given by family, friends and individuals within his community while growing up, which thrust him to success. In recent times an emerging trend has seen politicians assuming the duty of organizing ‘Back to School Supplies Distributions’ in the various constituencies that they represent. Throughout St. Kitts and Nevis hundreds of children of primary age gather to receive school bags filled with supplies. Some politicians go as far as to offer assistance with hair cuts and hair braiding showing support to students’ educational development. As the Academic School Year 2020-2021 approaches, over 3500 parents who work in the tourism sector and other industries are still unemployed. Some parents have recently returned to work after being displaced for months. Covid-19 has impacted the financial well-being and stability of many households, forcing them to rely mainly on government income assistance programs. The philanthropic acts of politicians are needed now more than ever, to ‘fill the holes’ in parents pockets in any way possible. Corporate St. Kitts and Nevis is encouraged to promote these gracious initiatives by offering their resources. The benefits cannot be quantified as one may never know which future leader’s life they are contributing to; case in point is our esteem Premier of Nevis Mark Brantley who was a beneficiary of a scholarship from the Social Security Board. Regardless of their political persuasions, businesses, groups and individuals can ‘tap in’ offering educational support to the less fortunate. These events and acts, however, should not be exploited for political prospering, but represent a genuine desire to contribute towards educating the youths of the nation. Politicians must not only engage in these activities when they are in government, but while in opposition and after they would have exited politics. The prominent, accomplished, thriving businesses and individuals should not allow politicians to be the ones leading in these philanthropic activities. Although they might be in the minority, there are many parents who genuinely cannot meet the educational needs of their children. The ‘well to do’ groups, businesses and individuals are urged to pool their resources and rise to the challenge of ensuring that these unmet educational needs are fulfilled.

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