Local OAS scholar adjusting well in Canada

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-showing remarkable promise in the field of housing and planning
Guyanese scholar, Bramhanand Singh
AS A YOUNG Guyanese scholar, Bramhanand Singh has taken with him to Canada a valuable international perspective and understanding to his work in the area of planning.
This is according to his peer, Mr. David Jackson, lead researcher at the Social Planning Council of Kingston and District (SPC), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization and registered charity which has been in operation since 1930. Kingston is the seat of administration of Frontenac County in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Singh’s programme of study and contributions to housing and planning in Kingston, Jackson says, has been widely acknowledged by the SPC. They see him as a keen, energetic and resourceful young scholar, who appears to be well on the road to an outstanding career in planning.

“We appreciate his work and commitment to academic research to assist the betterment of Canadian society,” Jackson said.

Known to close friends as Ken Singh, Bramhanand was awarded an Organization of American States (OAS) scholarship back in 2008, and is now reading for his master’s degree in planning at the Queen’s University School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP), which institution happens to be in the said Kingston district.

He was the only international student to be enrolled in the programme that year at Queen’s. Among courses he completed in his first year of studies are: Legal and Governmental Process, Physical Planning, and Housing Policies. He has also acquired in-depth knowledge and specialized skills in creating urban and regional plans and policies required by communities in Canada and abroad.

In 2008, young Singh was part of a team that produced a detailed series of GIS (Geographic Information System) maps, using as their guide data from the 2006 Canadian census.

To his credit, he’s also produced several maps for the Kingston Community Profile 2009, essentially a socio-economic analysis of the neighbourhood, a report on which was published by the SPC last year.

Said Jackson: “The SPC acknowledged Bramhanand’s performance as a key working team member in the preparation of the Profile report.”
Last fall, Singh reportedly played an active role in SURP’s contribution to a project titled, ‘The Hillside Village Community Planning Model’, under the supervision of Jackson, on behalf of SPC, and Professor Leela Viswanathan of Queen’s U.

As a contributor to the Hillside project, Singh assisted his teammates in putting together a series of written and public presentations on affordable housing and mixed use development for the City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

The 200-page Final Report is in the prepublication stages and will be published shortly.  Singh and his team were recognized in a ‘Kingston This Week’ news article in January for their innovative planning as described in the Hillside Village community model project report.

In his final semester at Queen’s, Singh will be undertaking a challenging, detailed Master’s Report project titled: ‘Addressing the medical health needs of homeless male adults in the City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada’.

The SPC expects that this report will be an important contribution to future planning and policy development for homelessness and health research in Kingston.

“We feel this Guyanese student is well on his way to a rewarding career as a planner,” Jackson opined.

History of the SPC
Originally known as the Kingston Welfare Council, the SPC became the Social Planning Council of Kingston and District in 1965, and defines its mandate as identifying unmet social needs in the community, and suggesting the resources needed to meet these needs.

Throughout its history, the SPC has been concerned with the state of social service needs and the wellbeing of residents in Kingston and surrounding Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Counties.
The mandate of the Social Planning Council of Kingston and Area is to provide leadership in identifying the need for social services and supports within the community.

In its quest to address community planning needs, the SPC has initiated several projects that have become autonomous agencies over the years: Among them are the Kingston District Community Information Centre (as of 2005, part of Volunteer Kingston), and the Kingston Youth Shelter.

The SPC seeks to facilitate, co-ordinate, and advocate for positive social change, while bridging the worlds of community members, academic researchers, government policy-makers and on-the-ground programme operators.