Bare Root | A community of resilience

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Don Sullivan better known as “Sir Don” (Samuel Maughn Photo)

HAVING been given the nickname “Sir Don,” Don Sullivan has lived up to the expectations of the children in the village of Bare Root, East Coast Demerara; he continues to play a vital role in the education of students by providing after-school lessons at his home.

This son of the soil, who is in his late 50s, told the Pepperpot Magazine that in the year 2000 he became a resident of Bare Root (Bachelor’s Adventure), a village sandwiched between Dazzell Housing Scheme and Enterprise, on the East Coast of Demerara.

“I am trying with the academic part – I started because when I came here in 2000, the pass rate of students who wrote the common entrance exam was low and I wanted to change that simply because I was concerned. So I started to work with my son- who was seven years old then – to ensure he passed his exams and when he wrote it he got President’s College,” Sullivan said.

He related that because of his son’s success, he started to teach extra lessons to all common entrance subjects at his home and so far, he has no regrets.

“A lady in the village keep asking me to teach her child, and so I started the after-school lessons at my house, because back then I was into construction work and with my [skill] in carpentry, I had some difficulty in finding every-day work, so I started to work out from my home with a reasonable fee attached,” Sullivan said.

Today, Sir Don has a class of students numbering more than 20 from right in the village and it is going wellp; so much so that he sells confectionery at his home as snacks for the pupils who visit for lessons, especially during weekdays.

Sullivan told the Pepperpot Magazine that the village has produced some good people and that the children are excelling at exams.

He stated that his twin girls did well and one of the two is at the stage of completing her second year of Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) at Queen’s College and his son is an architect in the Guyana Defence Force. He added that a lot of the youths he taught are students of the Government Technical Institute (GTI), University of Guyana (UG) and other tertiary institutions.

Bare Rooters are resourceful
Sullivan stated that even though the village is neglected, parents are making every effort to send their children to school with whatever they can afford, and that in itself speaks volumes.

“We have seen development in this village, because from the time I came here in 2000 the place was in a terrible state p; but over the years with the minimum resources, parents are making the effort to make a difference in the lives of their children and we are seeing the results … we can boast of our children getting into top secondary schools,” he said.

“The children generally seem to like Mathematics and we might very well produce a Finance Minister, but we need a nursery school in this village, because all the children have to go out the community to attend schools in neighbouring villages and in the city,” Sullivan said.

In addition, he said a playground is also essential for youths to be engaged in sporting activities, since there is none in the village.