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Literacy Project ~ Debe & Penal Rock Road

Literacy Project ~ Debe

Soroptimists Sheila Hassanali, Beverly Ali-Seupaul and Marilyn Lalla with the computer and school supplies to be presented.

For the second year, Soroptimist International Esperance has marked the International Day of Education which was proclaimed by The United Nations General Assembly in 2019 in celebration of the role of education in peace and development. A much needed laptop computer was presented to Debe Presbyterian Primary School for the use of the school administration and well as the teachers and pupils. Also provided was a variety of school supplies. The aim was to empower the school to enable them to deliver a quality education to the children.

Soroptimist Beverly Ann Ali-Seupaul (R) presents a computer to Senior Teacher at Debe Presbyterian Primary School, Ellen Buckridan.

Education is the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4, and Soroptimists structure their projects to fall in line with those goals and with the United Nations ‘4Ps.’

“The 2020 celebration will position education and the learning it enables as humanity’s greatest renewable resource and reaffirm the role of education as a fundamental right and a public good. It will celebrate the many ways learning can empower people, preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace.” UN Website.



Some of the students of Debe Presbyterian Primary School 
SI Esperance was approached by Debe Presbyterian School, one of the more disadvantaged Primary Schools in our community for assistance towards the empowerment and education of the students. This was a perfect opportunity for our club to heed their call. It not only enabled ‘hands-on’ training and teaching skills among the students, but also assisted the Principal and staff with their communication between the school and the Ministry of Education and parents on matters pertaining to the School.
Some of the students of Debe Presbyterian Primary School with Soroptimists.

In order to provide a proper ‘Teaching and Communication Tool’ for the school, the project involved identifying a suitable Laptop. We sourced quotations from three suppliers and acquired a Dell Touchscreen Laptop with full warranty. Payment for this item was drawn down from our Parang Fundraiser held in December 2019. A Laptop Bag and Stationery Supplies were donated by some of our members, while others took the responsibility to collect, package and present to the staff and students of the Debe Presbyterian Primary School.

The children were really excited about the school supplies.

This generated a great deal of excitement among the children and appreciation among the staff. It is to be used as a stimulating teaching aid in the classroom as well as for administrative purposes. It enabled and empowered the adults in the school to deliver a better education. Our newspaper article informed the public about the importance of the International Day of Education, the SI Esperance project and the work of Soroptimist International. Our actions raised the public’s awareness and advocated for better educational provision.

‘This is going to make an enormous difference to all aspects of the life of this school.’

Literacy Project ~ Penal Rock Road

In observance of The United Nations General Assembly’s ” International Day of Education”, Soroptimist International Esperance presented Penal Rock SDMS Early Childhood Centre with storybooks, colouring books, workbooks, crayons and modeling clay.


Our club chose this project to support the UN in their first-ever International Day of Education campaign to meet targets of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. It was designed to raise awareness of the role a quality education plays in poverty eradication and other areas. This plays an important part in future economic empowerment and quality of life for all.

Members of Soroptimist International Esperance with the staff and students of Penal Rock Road SDMS Early Childhood Care and Education Centre.

Studies show that children who enter primary school without good pre-reading or reading skills find themselves “left behind”; resulting in their inability to obtain the education needed for strong economic empowerment. Providing literacy based books, games and alternative methods for teaching pre-school age students (age 3-5) gives the school the necessary tools to allow these students to learn the skills necessary to confidently matriculate into a primary school environment.

Soroptimists presented books and educational materials to the teachers . (L to R) SI Esperance President Cheryl Boodoosingh, Seema Soondar, Soroptimist Sheila Hassanali and Dulcie Dookie.

The project involved establishing a relationship with the Early Childhood Centre, assessing their needs and purchasing the items needed, and a visit to the Centre and presentation of the items by club members. We booked the photographer and wrote the copy for the newspapers to increase awareness of the educational needs of these children, and to advocate for better provision. We aim to educate, enable and empower students to be the best that they can be.

Esperance Soroptimist Ursula de Castro presents books to teacher Neisha Ali.

The donated resources enhanced the educational experience of the students, enabling them to confidently matriculate into primary school. This will lead to further educational opportunities because a strong literacy-based foundation was laid at an early age.

Presentations were made by (L to R) Esperance Soroptimist Sheila Hassanali to Dulcie Dookie and by Communications Officer Marilyn Lalla to Ava Morales.
President Elect of SI Esperance Denyse Ewe makes a presentation to Seema Hassan while Soroptimist Ursula de Castro (L) looks on.

This project resulted in laying the foundation for Trinidad to be an integral part of the future development and achievement of peace and the building of sustainable societies in the future. The national newspaper, The Trinidad Express published an article about the project in which they said, ” SI Esperance recognizes the foundational role of education for peace and development and acknowledges that quality education transforms lives from an early age.”

Esperance Soroptimist Laura Hinkson enjoying the new books and crayons with students of Penal Rock Road SDMS Early Childhood Care and Education Centre.

As one of the teachers said,

“Having these stimulating materials will make a huge difference in making our teaching more interesting.”

Communications Officer Marilyn Lalla of SI Esperance reads a story with some of the children of Penal Rock Road SDMS Early Childhood Care and Education Centre.
SI Esperance President Elect Denyse Ewe and Soroptimist Laura Hinkson share a new book with the children of Penal Rock Road SDMS ECCE.
Esperance Soroptimist Ursula de Castro chatting about the gifts with one of the students.