OPSEU/SEFPO is donating $11,000 to support Jamaican organizations that are working to provide education supplies and materials to children in the Caribbean country.
OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas and Adam Ly and Renford Thomas, Region 4 members on OPSEU/SEFPO’s Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) visited the Office of the Jamaican High Commission in Ottawa on February 9, 2022. They presented a donation cheque of $9,000 to Sharon Miller, High Commissioner. This represented a part of the $11,000 in total contributed to effort of the High Commission to support its educational outreach.
This donation will be used to support various local groups in Jamaica. The work, which is being done locally, has been focused on actively getting education supplies and materials to under-served children throughout Jamaica. Sadly, many cities and countries continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19. As a result, the most marginalized in this pandemic, and often the hardest hit, are families and children.
“Helping children reach their full potential is everyone’s responsibility,” said President Thomas. “It is our duty to ensure that every child can get all of the necessary resources in order to succeed in life.”
Like many countries hardest hit by the pandemic, Jamaica has needed to adapt and provide creative solutions to addressing educational needs of students while managing the new world of online education. This includes providing tablets and laptops to students and households who may not have the means to access these critical tools at this time.
“With so much uncertainty today, it’s important to step up and show up for one another. I’m so proud of the work that my union does in giving back when it truly matters most,” said Ly.
“This moment is historic for me. As a new member to the CoRW, I am very proud and honoured to be a part of the work that our union is doing to lend support on a global level,” added Renford Thomas.
Miller expressed her appreciation to OPSEU/SEFPO members, extending her heartfelt gratitude for ‘this very generous donation.’ She was also thankful for the new friendships made along the way.
This effort was in partnership between the CoRW, the Jamaican Canadian Council (JCC) and its affiliates. A special thank you to Peter Thompson, Chair of the CoRW, for leading this effort.
“This is part of our ‘every device matters’ mandate and we’ve been working on it for a number of years,” Thompson said. “Our ultimate goal is to remove any and all barriers that prevent children from achieving their goals in life.”