Gov’t receives more devices for ‘one laptop per child’ initiative

THE Government’s ‘one laptop or tablet per child initiative’ has received a further boost with the acquisition of 12 computer tablets, courtesy of Bresheh Limited.

The devices, along with protective cases, were handed over to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information on Friday by chief executive officer and co-founder of Bresheh Limited, Randy McLaren.

The presentation took place at the ministry’s offices at National Heroes’ Circle in Kingston.

Three of the devices will be assigned to the Bureau of Gender Affairs for use within its National Shelter for victims of domestic abuse; six will be issued to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA); while the remaining three will be presented to a school in McLaren’s home parish — St Thomas.

The devices are aimed at providing the beneficiaries with greater access to online learning.

In addition to the devices, 200 reusable face masks, produced by the company, were handed over for distribution to students who will be sitting the upcoming Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

In expressing gratitude for the devices, Acting Chief Education Officer Dr Kasan Troupe said the donation supports the Government’s drive to facilitate online learning through the provision of tablets to students islandwide.

“We are proud when our students grow up and give back… this is really the heart of the education system,” Dr Troupe said.

She pointed out that as a result of McLaren’s gesture, “12 more students will benefit because of your heart [and] your commitment”.

“Thank you for responding to the call under the One Laptop/Tablet Per Child Programme,” Dr Troupe said, while noting that “we are just reaching 17 per cent of our target on this initiative.”

Against this background, she encouraged other public and private stakeholders to assist in making the programme’s goals a reality.

The ministry’s initiative is designed to promote inclusivity in the education sector, and aims to provide needy students with the requisite tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.

This includes ensuring equity in access to information and communications technology (ICT)-based learning.

In his remarks, McLaren explained that for the Christmas period last year, Bresheh Limited decided to set aside five per cent of the sale proceeds of each client’s order towards purchasing tablets for children who do not have access to what is now “a very essential item”.

“This primarily focused on children transitioning from State care as well as students in rural communities. Digicel Foundation came on board to match what we raised and sourced the tablets for us. We were able to purchase 12 tablets as well as protective cases for each,” he shared.

McLaren said that the company has, so far, donated close to $5 million worth of masks, since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, to schools, community groups, churches, as well as the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, consequent on volcanic eruptions causing dislocations in that country, while emphasising that “giving back is part of who we are”.

He said the company believes that through creativity, collaboration and keen focus on sharing and doing the right thing for people, “we can make a positive impact.

“To my friends, who are transitioning from State care… never give up on your dreams. To the students of my beloved parish of St Thomas, never feel ‘less than’ just because of where you come from. The spirt of Paul Bogle lives within us. We are perfectly placed to innovate and come up with solutions for our current and future problems,” he said.

McLaren also encouraged females housed at the national shelter for abused women who will benefit from the tablets to recognise that “you deserve to be treated like [the] princesses and queens that you are.”

Manager for Transition Living Complexes at the CPFSA, Keisha Tomlinson, also expressed appreciation for the devices, noting that they will assist the students in their studies.

Bresheh’s goal is to combine Jamaican culture with the energy of people globally to provide a range of high-quality, locally manufactured products.

These include the entity’s flagship ‘Bresheh’ bags which are 100 per cent customisable, which allows clients to choose the design, size, colour and material used.

Customers can also add their names, initials, logo or social media handles to further personalise the bags.

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