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Student helps less fortunate children
Every month engineering student Giatri Kavita Lalla takes a significant portion of her salary from her internship job and buys school stationery for less fortunate children in her neighbourhood.
Lalla, 21, who attends the University of the West Indies (UWI), also “asks around” and purchases used schoolbooks for children of mostly single mothers.
“Most of the parents are single mothers who work in modest jobs and sometimes just cannot afford to buy all the books and stationery for their children.
“Sometimes, because they don’t have the books, their children stay at home,” she says.
Lalla, on a “personal mission,” said she would buy all the textbooks and stationery for children in need in her community who attend primary and secondary schools.
“As students we do internship programmes at companies and I am working with a geometrics engineering firm in Maraval.
“I use money from my salary there to fund my personal projects,” she said.
The elder of two children for a humble construction worker and a grocery attendant of Montrose, Lalla said a strong conviction that all children should be given equal opportunities for an education and, by extension, a future, was what drove her.
“Helping underprivileged children get an education is the entire purpose of our group,” she said. She said her parents also contributed to her charity work.
Lalla is president of a group of UWI students called Students Helping to Enhance Lives, which does the same thing on a larger scale. The group goes to orphanages to redo libraries and engage in other projects centred around education.
“We refurbished an entire library in a children’s home last year. The library was simply piles of books in a small room.
“For four months we repainted the room, changed the carpet and sorted out and reorganised all the books to make it like a proper library. We paid someone to build an entire bookshelf,” she added.
Lalla was one of 13 students selected in 2012 by the Department of the Americas and the US State Department to be a youth ambassador. She was in Form Six at Asja Girls’ College in Charlieville at the time. She said they went to the US and attended meetings in Washington with officials who were in contact with then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
She said upon their return home, they were asked to do a community project and chose to refurbish the library in the children’s home. That project was funded by the Partners of the Americas. The group has selected another children’s home to work with and will be launching a stationery drive soon.
“We will be sourcing stationery from donors and purchasing some for 11 children at this orphanage who attend secondary school.
“Our aim is to provide all the stationery they will need for the coming school year, especially notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers and geometry sets,” she added.