Through its philanthropic arm, Digicel Foundation, telecommunications company, Digicel has invested nearly US$11 million in the special needs community.
Since the start of this year, the Digicel Foundation donated US$40,000 (J$6.2 million) to support the Special Olympics Jamaica team at the World Games in Berlin, Germany from June 17-25.
The company continues their corporate social responsibility in supporting the disabled community.
In surprise visits to the Annie Dawson Children’s Home and the Jamaica National Children’s Home (JNCH) on May 30, Digicel Jamaica presented four special needs wards with development grants for their academic programmes.
Brand Marketing Manager for Digicel, Reshima Kelly-Williams, emphasised the importance of playing a greater role in helping the most vulnerable children in our society.
She stated, “Children have a right to be loved and nurtured and we all have a responsibility to be a part of the village that looks after them. We especially need to get more involved in the lives of our most vulnerable like those in state care and children living with special needs.”
Kelly-Williams also highlighted Digicel’s ongoing commitment to the special needs community through initiatives via the Digicel Foundation and the Digicel 5K.
A. Letford, a ward of the state with special needs, has one goal in life and that is to help others. With plans already underway to become a nurse, the optimistic teenager was filled with gratitude when she learned that she was one of four wards of the state with special needs to receive a Digicel Development Grant valued at $40,000. The others are W. McNish, an aspiring visual artist, C. Armstrong, who wants to pursue a career in medicine, and K. Davis, a visually impaired person who wants to pursue physiotherapy.
The Digicel team offered a glimmer of hope to the ambitious quartet who are 15 to 18 years old.
“It’s a very good feeling!” said Letford, who looks forward to the day she will be able to care for people in need and give back to her community.
“Seeing persons left unattended makes me sad and I want to be able to help them,” she continued.
Letford, who was born with a physical disability, was abandoned by her family at eight years old. Today, she credits the Home for instilling values, building her confidence, and helping her overcome personal challenges. She is preparing to sit seven CSEC subjects this year.
K. Davis, a student at the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, hopes to become a physiotherapist. With a passion for healing and helping others regain mobility, the grade 10 student also enjoys gospel music and cooking, and one day hopes to earn the trust of the Home to independently prepare her favourite dishes.
“Thank you for this wonderful gift,” she said to both the Home and Digicel.
Ivaline Nickie, Founder & Executive Director of the Annie Dawson Home, shared her appreciation, stating, “You have made these two children very, very happy today.”
McNish, a male resident with a physical disability at JNCH has a passion for art and craft. He excels in his academic pursuits at the Carberry Court Special School and is a training member of the Special Olympics Bocce team. With confidence, McNish conveyed his excitement and determination, stating, “I love to show people what I can do!”
C. Armstrong, a fellow Bocce teammate, classmate, and resident at JNCH, is not limited by her mild intellectual disability. The teen has a passion for sewing, excels academically, and although sewing is her first love, Armstrong aspires to become a medical doctor.
Supervisor at JNCH, Margaretta McCarthy, thanked Digicel for its contribution towards the welfare of the children: “Thank you for always thinking of us; we’re so grateful for all you’ve been doing.”
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