With the crippling impact of Covid-19 on the Antigua and Barbuda economy, many persons have lost their jobs and vulnerable groups are facing financial hardships.
The University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus, through the regional institution’s UWI CARE initiative is seeking to assist vulnerable persons in the Five Islands, Antigua community.
Chairperson of the local UWI CARE Committee and Head of the Department of Health and Behavioural Sciences at The UWI Five Islands Campus, Sr. Karen Josiah said, “In the first instance, we donated 48 care packages with basic food and personal items to single mothers and senior citizens in the Five Islands community in time for Mother’s Day.”
The UWI CARE initiative, which promotes volunteer efforts by staff and students across the region, is one aspect of The UWI’s response being pursued by The UWI COVID-19 Task Force that was established “to leverage the University’s knowledge and experts to assist the Caribbean in its readiness and response to the virus outbreak.”
UWI CARE identifies the needs of vulnerable groups across all five Campuses and their neighbouring communities and collaborates efforts, resources and strategies to mitigate against the devastating effects of disasters, crises and emergencies.
In Antigua and Barbuda, UWI CARE is spearheaded by the FIC Covid-19 Working Group formed in February of this year. Special thanks is extended to Sr. Karen Josiah, the Director of Academic Affairs, Mr. Hyram Forde, The UWI Five Islands Guild of Students, Senator Gail
Christian and Mr. Kareem Meade for their roles in organising, identifying the recipients, packing and assisting with the distribution of packages.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Stafford Griffith said he is pleased with the demonstration of solidarity with the residents of the Five Islands community during these times.
“We see the Five Islands as our own community, and we will mobilise all the resources afforded to us to help in any way we can. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a multitude of challenges for a lot of people, especially single mothers and the elderly, and so we wanted to reach out to those vulnerable persons in a special way,” the Principal said.
The initiative received a kick start with a cash donation of EC$3,000.00 and corporate sponsorship from a local supermarket, First Choice Foods.
“The residents of the Five Islands community have welcomed the University, and from our community to theirs, we are only returning the kindness. We are grateful for the contributions that have helped to secure the items. This is the first of several initiatives to come,” Mr. Forde said.
The care packages were distributed in the Five Islands community on Friday, May 8.
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Way to go Caleb Gardner.
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