50 students benefit from inaugural Sophia Education and Sports camp
With the aim of providing remedial educational assistance to slow learners, provide non-academic life skills that will aid in better decision-making and to create a safe space to foster interpersonal development, the Sophia Community Development Association (SOCDA) successfully hosted a Sophia Education and Sports camp.
Over 50 students benefitted from the inaugural camp which was held at the Sophia Primary School.
According to the NGO based in Sophia, the event also sought to improve the literacy & numeracy skills for pupils of the community.
SOCDA Programme Director, Leroy Adolphus, said, “the summer camp was conceptualised out of the need to have primary school pupils in the Sophia district engaged in some form of meaningful education and sports activities while school is in recess.”
“At the end of the day this community is where I am living and I know the hardships faced by many families during and out of school time. So SOCDA and Express Guyana decided to have a free summer school for pupils between 6-12 years old as an intervention. We also provided a hot meal and a cold beverage daily for the pupils” he added.
Students were taught mathematics, reading, and literacy skills inclusive of letter sounds, reading and number identification, addition, multiplication and division. The sporting component was also important since it looked at sportsmanship behaviour among those participating.
Adolphus also highlighted that the Ministry of the Presidency, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Youth Empowerment was the main funding partner for this year’s summer camp. He also said contributions were received from Republic Bank, Caribbean Containers and Sterling Products.
In the greater Sophia community where there are no major economic activities that could spur the interests of thousands of unemployed men and women, there has been an upsurge in criminal activities, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, school drop-outs, at risk youth and gender base violence (GBV) the NGO said.
Currently, SOCDA and Express Guyana, in collaboration with the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, commenced one of five piloted Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Night School projects in Sophia. The Night School is aimed at equipping young adults, especially school drop-outs, to have at least five subjects at the CSEC level. These piloted projects were conceptualised using data collected in relation to school drop-outs and the notable lack of good grades in CSEC subjects needed to commence tertiary level education or get a well-paying job. The classes are held at the Sophia Training Centre on Dennis Street from Monday-Friday weekly.
Other projects in train for SOCDA include: remedial reading classes for youth and adults; Project CONNECT which entails the sourcing some 40 computers from both government and private sector for ICTs free training for members of the community; Placement Plus Initiative which is geared towards providing vocational job placements for students who graduate from the Sophia Training School (Mercy Wings) and Project LINKAGE which will see the recruitment and referral of individuals from the Sophia Community to the Board of Industrial Training and other centers and businesses for vocational qualifications.
SOCDA was founded to respond to the developmental challenges of the community and Express Guyana, an NGO whose mission is to improve the health and social well-being of Guyanese citizens, especially at-risk youth, through the use of creative and unconventional methods.