By M Margaret Burke
THE University of Guyana’s Final Year students of Tain Campus, Berbice have been very determined to construct a shade house and to present it to the Winifred Gaskin Memorial Secondary School. It is mandatory for final year students who are reading for their Degree in Social Work at the University to actively engage in activities which will help them to cultivate what they would have learned during the four years of study.
CHOOSING THE WINIFRED GASKIN SECONDARY SCHOOL
This was the initiative of the Faculty of Social Sciences Final Year Project for the course in Professional Development 2 (DSW 4100), under the guidance of Lecturer Chelsey Halley- Crawford. It was steered by three students-Christine Persaud, Ashley-Ann Fable and Andrea Charles who gave themselves the name “The Determined crew”.
After the outline was given by Halley-Crawford for choosing somewhere to work with, the Rehabilitation School in Port Mourant and the Special Needs School in New Amsterdam were the two schools given much thought by the three students, but in order to make every group member satisfied with location, the Winifred Gaskin Memorial Secondary School was the final choice.
“Upon speaking with the Headmaster, Mr. Imran Ally in the first instance, he was delighted to have the ‘determine crew’”, Andrea Charles told the Pepperpot Magazine.
Charles said that the Winifred Gaskin Secondary School is located in what is considered as a ‘catchment area’ that is said to be of a low socio-economic standing. Furthermore, it was observed that there is a prevalence of illicit drug use, among other social problems, in the area. It was also believed that some of these factors may have an impact on the lives and performance of the students of the institution. As such, one of their main targets of intervention was the ‘shade house’, which is to be used by the students as part of their farming activities. She added that the ‘Determined Crew’ also got involved in counselling and motivational talks.
“It should be noted that had it not been for our heavenly Father, the project could not have been a success. The ‘Determined Crew’ upon embarking on the journey knew it would not have been an easy task to get accomplished. We knew [that] it required a lot of commitment, patience, cooperation and skills. However, we were ready to take on such a role and as such did not back down from the task,” Charles said.
BRINGING ABOUT CHANGE
Charles told the Pepperpot Magazine that as a team they held each other’s hands and encouraged each other throughout the journey just to fulfill one of the long-awaited dreams of the school. The final year student said that for the Social Work students, it was not about just doing a project but the emphasis was placed on bringing about a change wherever they are placed.
PROVISION OF NEEDS
The main responsibility of the social worker is to provide for felt needs of the client and to improve their present condition. It’s not just about a good grade, but also to leave a smile on someone’s face by changing the situations for the best. It was not a project that was pushed into the face of the school, but the headmaster expressed that the shade house was an urgent and long expected dream for the Agriculture Department of the school. He also stated that the students tend to feel demotivated to go out into the sun to work and as such the shade house would aid in their Agriculture practicum for the CXC students.
From the start this project was a collaborative effort, Charles said. The willing support from headmaster, staff, students and community members, was key to the success of the project.
Charles said that the ‘shade house’ cost approximately $96,000 and that sum of money could not have been realised were it not for some generous and kind-hearted people who contributed significantly. Such persons are Poonai’s Pharmacy, Chattergoon Supermarket, Ishmiel, Hamid General Stores, both at Fyrish and Rosehall, Razac, Anamayah administrator of the Anamyah Hospital, Dr. Sugrim and the Emo Supermarket. Also, the carpenter, Junior Dejonge and boys did an amazing job in constructing the shade house. The ‘Determined Crew’ is very grateful for all the support we received in accomplishing this task.”
The project was completed before March 20 and was handed over to the Winfred Gaskin Secondary School on March 22, 2018, in the form of a closing ceremony. During the ceremony, the ‘Determined Crew’ and the headmaster expressed their heartfelt gratitude to each other, while Halley-Crawford also expressed her gratitude to the School and the group for such a “marvellous job” done.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHER SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS
It does not matter the task given to you, once you look at it in a positive an optimistic way, you can get through. The Famous Light Bulb inventor, “Thomas Edison” tried a thousand ways in getting his bulb invented. Each way he would have learnt something different why it didn’t work and were able to correct it. Also there is one time when Thomas Edison Lab caught fire after so many efforts he would have put into his lab- it is said that he slept on the lab’s table many nights- but instead of becoming frustrated in which many of us would have, he sent the children home to go and call their mother, for they might never have been able to see such a big fire again. (email@example.com)