Distribution of “Because We Care” $5.8 billion cash grant begins

…“it will go a long way, as a parent I’m grateful for it” – mother of 2

…“you have the privilege of being young” at the best time in Guyana’s history – Finance Minister

By Amar Persaud

The Education Ministry on Tuesday commenced the distribution of the “Because We Care” cash grant and uniform allowance at various schools across the country.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who officially launched the distribution of the cash grant at the Belle West Primary School in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), explained that the cash grant was part of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s elections manifesto.
“So, this cash grant is born of a promise we made, we started this small then, in 2014 we did a very similar cash grant. Every student across Guyana from nursery, primary to secondary and at that time it was $10,000 and we said and we said that it would raise repeatedly every year until it reached $50,000. Unfortunately, we left Government and it stopped, it was abolished and the reason it was abolished was that they didn’t think it made sense. Up to now the Opposition is saying it’s a foolish waste of money.”
“We promised you when we asking for your support during the elections, we promised for you to give us that support we will restore this grant and we will increase the grant and the moment we came into office in August 2020…in that first budget we said that in 2021 we will restore the cash grant and in 2021 each person got $19,000 and this year every student is getting $30,000,” she explained.
“So, we’re launching the cash grant here in Belle West Primary but even as we do this here in Region Three, all across Guyana, Regions One to 10 just like yourselves are receiving cash grants,” the Education Minister added.
The Minister further highlighted that the cash grants will accountably be distributed due to the rigorous process they have taken to guarantee that it does.
“How did we arrive at your child’s name? We didn’t come here and pick this one and that one, we said to the teachers, tell us who is on the register of each classroom…and we didn’t stop there. [It] has to be submitted to the level head, there’s a supervisor for every level, the supervisor has to verify that list with the register, then Deputy Head Mistress, then the Head Mistress, then the Region, then it comes to the Ministry of Education. That is how we’re deciding who will get the grant.”
Further addressing concerns raised by teachers of the provision of meals and amenities during the distribution exercise, Manickchand related that all regions have come up with a different approach.
“This year Region Three has decided to give a stipend to teachers, Region Six has taken the decision to provide lunch for teachers, Region Eight has taken the decision to provide lunch for teachers, Georgetown asked the schools if they would provide lunch and they said yes and those schools that said they couldn’t do it, the Georgetown Office to help them with it, so I’m very grateful to the good teachers who will turn up and do this,” she highlighted.
The Government will distribute a total of $6 billion “Because We Care” cash grants and school uniform allowances this year.
Each child in the public and private school system will receive $30,000, which represents $25,000 as the grant and $5000 as an allowance for school unform.

Meanwhile, Guyana Times on Tuesday spoke with parents who were waiting to receive their cash grants at the Campbellville Secondary School in Georgetown, most of whom commended the initiative being continued by the Government.
“It will be a good thing cause the school clothes and the school shoes carries a price and school bags and so on,” Walter Millington, a father who has three children currently in different school levels, explained.
Menawattie Bentick related that while the cost of items has risen to some extent due to the rise in the cost of living, the cash grant will be helpful and contribute to reducing her expenses for the school needs of her children.
“Personally, as a parent of two I really think it’s helpful…it will help, it will go a long way. As a parent, I’m grateful for it, that’s my take on it at this point because of the rise in cost of living it’s not sufficient but again it will help but you are not going into your pocket for the entire amount,” she said
Guyana Times also visited Graham’s Hall Primary School, where parents uplifting the grants also shared their opinion on the initiative.
“I think it’s a great initiative because of the increase in cost of living having this grant will do parents a great deal because they will get to purchase added school items for them to be able to return back to school and the children are the future so with them coming to school we know that there is a great Guyana ahead,” Kannadasan told Guyana times.
“From my part, this initiative is a great one and a great help for parents that they can now be able to offset some of the expenses, if not all but a greater part of it to help their children so that they can be back to school, ready to their work with their supplies so on so I just want to say thanks to the Government for affording us this opportunity,” Chevon Thomas related.

Privilege to be young
Over at Queen’s College, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh told students that there has never a better time in the entire history of Guyana to be a young person than the current period. He explained that young people now have vast opportunities as Guyana is undergoing a remarkable transformation, with a rapidly changing economy, not only due to oil and gas, but also due to major development in several other sectors and with the country’s economy being the fastest growing in the world.
“You have the privilege of being young at the best time in the history of our country,” Dr Singh told students at his alma mater. He advised them further to “seize that privilege and the opportunities that it brings and convert it in not only achieving greatness in terms of personal success but playing your part in achieving greater success in terms of your family, the community in which you belong and for the country for which you are a part. You are the future of Guyana. Your successes will determine the success of our country. You are literally the Guyana of tomorrow. I encourage you to do all you possibly can to ensure that future is as bright as it could possibly be. We, your Government, will play our part to all we can to ensure the realisation of this bright future. This cash grant represents one part of our commitment to ensuring you realise that vast potential.”
He also emphasised that Government’s commitment is to ensure that it creates the necessary conditions for today’s generation of young Guyanese to have a good quality education. He added that the cash grant disbursement would go a long way in meeting the critical needs of students in order for them to purchase stationery, uniforms and other school supplies.
The Minister explained further that Government would continue to assist in all the areas it is required to, such as construction of schools, the provision of text books and other school supplies and in ensuring that quality teachers are placed at each school. He also pointed out that the Government intends to keep its commitment of moving the “Because We Care” cash grant to $50,000 by the end of its current term.
In 2021, Government disbursed a total of $3.3 billion in “Because We Care” cash grants to public school students countrywide. The cash grants were also extended to students attending private schools where each child received $19,000 amounting to a total of $284.8 million. This amount was increased to $30,000 this year.