With the impending closure of all schools until the end of the year due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Asja Girls’ Alumni Association is working to ensure that all students are equipped with an electronic device before the new term starts.
Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, alumni president Nadeira Khan said with the closure of schools for the next few months, they have been working in collaboration with principal Yasmin Rahaman-Singh, members of staff and students to assist those students and their families who are in need of basic necessities such as food and academic material.
“In the interim, we are giving physical and financial assistance upon request. Many of us have been assisting privately for the past few months. While our bank account bears a minimal balance, we will solicit assistance from other individuals and companies if necessary, to provide for our younger sisters,” Khan said.
She noted that exercises were carried out over the last few months by the principal and staff to assist the school in providing the necessary electronic devices needed to complete the school curriculum and to ensure that no student was left behind.
“Devices were donated by different companies and individuals. It is the intention of the alumni to continue to work with the college in providing and donating whatever students may require in the near future,” Khan said.
“If this means by soliciting donations or having curbside pick-up fund-raisers, then so be it. Thus far, the majority of students are able to connect online, but not all of them, unfortunately.”
On Saturday, both T&T Unified Teachers’ Association president Antonia De Freitas and National Primary Schools’ Principal Association principal Lance Mottley also called on corporate T&T to come on board to ensure that all students are equipped with devices for the new term.
Khan noted that the teaching method has changed since the pandemic started, forcing all teachers to re-educate themselves in a new method of teaching and learning.
“It has been a ‘wake-up call’ for everyone and our teachers have been working very industriously with our students. As challenging as it is, all teachers at the ASJA Girls’ College San Fernando have gone above and beyond the call of duty as always, to ensure that every student is included,” she said.
Khan noted it has also been difficult for people to join the alumni or renew their membership due to the strain on the economy and their pockets due to COVID.
“It is difficult to assist the entire student population of the island because not every household can afford laptops, iPads, internet or even basic necessities. Believe it or not, there is much poverty in our republic. Non-governmental organisations need to come together, do the fieldwork and work together to assist the schools and families wherever necessary,” she said.
Khan, who also heads the charitable ASH-NAD Foundation along with her husband, said many times financial contributions the Government makes do not reach those who really need it.
“This is why we will work with our alma mater in assisting those in need and handle with the utmost privacy and care,” Khan added.
Anyone wanting to join the alumni can contact Khan at 683-1501 or send an email to [email protected]