“Because We Care”, uniform grants “This will do a lot for my children” – parent on $45,000 cash grants

…205, 000 students to benefit from initiative

…as “fast and efficient” delivery commended by parents

By Mishael Henry and Andrew Carmicheal

The Education Ministry began the nationwide distribution of the $45,000 “Because We Care” cash grant and the uniform grant, on Monday for students in both public and private educational facilities.
The first day of distribution saw scores of parents across Guyana, who praised the speed and efficiency of the disbursement. These grants are expected to benefit over 205, 000 school-aged children this year.

Parents during the cash grant distribution process

With an allocation of more than $9 billion in the national budget, the programme, the Education Ministry said, aims to alleviate financial burdens on families and ensure that every child has the resources they need to thrive in their academic journey.
As the distribution began, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand visited Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) and emphasised the Government’s unwavering dedication to education, stating that the Ministry and by extension the Government, is keen on continuously improving the lives of its citizens, specifically in the hinterland regions.
“Before the end of today, more than 40 million dollars will go into your pockets. Once we have resources, we make sure we invest it back into you. Once we have resources, you feel that in your pockets and your children feel it in their book bags. And even when we had little, we would always find a way to make sure we improve what you have, because that is what this Government does,” the minister said.

Fast and effective
In Georgetown, at the Tutorial High School, Persantie Baldeo, a mother of one, who recently suffered a stroke and has been unable to work and provide for her daughter, explained how the grant would significantly assist her child.
“We are happy for the cash grant. We will buy lots of books, school uniforms, and bags,” Baldeo said, her voice cracking with emotion.
“This cash grant is big, you know. It is very huge that they came up with this amount because they make us able to get it, and they added on $5,000 so that we can buy school clothes.”
At F.E. Pollard Primary, another parent, Clifton Singh, received his grant in a record time of five minutes. “The process is very fast and effective,” Singh said. “I didn’t spend 10 minutes to receive my cash grant. The $45,000 will assist me in fully attiring my child for school in September with complete uniforms, bags, and books.”
Meanwhile, at Bel Air Primary School, parent Jared Norville shared how he plans to budget the funds for his child’s education.
“I am thankful for this cash grant; I will buy my sons all the necessary thing that they need for schools and the rest that remain I will put it to use incase they have any other assignments.” Norville shared.
Not only were parents in Georgetown expressing their thoughts but also parents residing in the deep ends of Swan Primary.

A parent moments after receiving her cash grant poses with Education Minister Priya Manickchand

A mother from Swan Primary, East Bank Demerara (EBD), who had to constantly provide for her five children revealed how appreciative she was to the education minister for having implemented this initiative.
Gladly posing with her five cash grants in her hand, she confidently said, “I just want to say thank you to Miss Priya Manickchand for this cash grant and the Government of Guyana. This will do a lot for my children. I want to say thank you so much for this.”
Senior persons also chimed their views on the grant received. Carletta Williams who is a grandparent of two, expressed her gratitude as she quickly made her way to buy school clothes for her grandchildren.
“I am really thanking the president for everything that has been done for me,” Williams said. “I’m going to buy school clothes and other supplies, and whatever is left will help pack up my house.”
At Port Kaituma, Region One also showed their glee as parents stated that they must thank the unwavering support of the Government for their various initiatives.
Ministers, including Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, fanned out across the country to oversee the distribution in various districts. At Bel Air Primary, Minister Walrond reiterated the government’s commitment to increasing the grant to $40,000 per child.
This year, the “Because We Care” cash grant was increased to $40,000, coupled with the $5,000 uniform allowance, and will benefit 205,000 children countrywide.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and the Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh during distribution exercise at Queen’s College, reiterated that the restoration and increase of Government’s cash grant to school children initiative on the return to office of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is the delivery of one of the party’s promises in its 2020 Manifesto.
The minister further explained that Government has been placing the highest level of priority in ensuring that the young people of Guyana realise their full potential.
While addressing parents and teachers at the launch, Dr Singh used the opportunity to highlight that this era is the most exciting time to be young in Guyana, noting that in this new Guyana, the rate at which the economy is growing, there are incredible new opportunities arising in every single sector of the country.
“Young people irrespective of what their interest is, irrespective of what they want to study (in this new Guyana) or what career they wish to pursue ,opportunities are limitless,” Dr Singh told parents and teachers, as he alluded to the large number of training and job-creation opportunities Government has been providing in various sectors, as well as the recent second Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) graduation ceremony where over 1,700 young people graduated, while over 7,700 more persons have been awarded scholarships to study in various fields.

Systems in place
Meanwhile, systems have been put in place to cater for those parents, who are unable to uplift the grants as per the Education Ministry’s schedule.
In Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat has said, the process went smoothly on the opening day in the eastern-most region of the country.
Almost 23,000 students in Region Six are expected to benefit from the cash grant; 3,331 at the nursery level, 10,633 at the primary level and 7,390 at the secondary level.
Additionally, more than 1,500 students attending private schools will also benefit from the $40,000 cash grants and $5,000 uniform grant.
“When this programme would have started in 2013, under the PPP/Civic administration it was only for students attending public schools, unfortunately between 2015 and 2020, it was disbanded by the then administration and we had promised that once elected we will restart the cash grant programme for students and also to increase it.”
He noted that it was $10,000 back in 2013 when the programme commenced and it has risen to $40,000 plus the $5000 uniform voucher.
Meanwhile, Minister Bharrat noted that arrangements have been put in place for those who have been unable to uplift their cash grants as per the schedule outlined by the Education Ministry.
“The Ministry of Education will continue the programme. There are other days when they will be going to different schools, so a system has been put in place that parents can visit those other areas or the education office and the regional Educational Officer will be responsible there,” he added.
In Berbice several parents expressed appreciation for the cash grant which many assured will be of great assistance.

Wonderful initiative
Dominic Caldera of New Amsterdam, a mother of four, three of whom are attending school, said the cash grant for school children is a wonderful initiative by the government.
“It will aid in some school supplies along with their text books because my son will be writing the National Grade Six Exams next year so it will be helping him getting some books and stationery that he and his brother and sister needs too.”
Andrea James also collected for three children and she said since the money was given for the children, she will be using it to purchase their uniforms and needed supplies.
“What leave over I will put up and use it to buy things to put into their school bowls to go to school.”
Another parent Radica Ramdeen referring to the initiative as being a good one, pointed out that it will assist her only child in acquiring school supplies.
“The money I does use up to buy school things for her,” she said with a smile on her face.
Selochine Moonasar who has the responsibility of taking care of her two grandchildren said they are both at secondary school.
“I have to buy a computer for my granddaughter and I have to buy a phone for my grandson so I am very thankful for the money.”
The distribution of cash grants will continue into next week.
The Because We Care cash grant of $40,000 this year has been substantially increased from $15,000 in 2021 when its disbursement resumed. Together with the uniform allowance of $5,000, this year’s grant to each child will amount to $45,000.