By Bibi Khatoon
A 35-year-old doctor at the Kumaka District Hospital in Region One is on a mission to ensure children in remote communities in the Region are educated and he is seeking help to get them what they need – tablets, energy supply and even transportation.
Dr. Derron Moonsammy said he first visited the community of Unity Grant along the Waini River to conduct a medical outreach a few months ago. He discovered that the 27 children residing there did not attend school.
“While there, the village leader shared…that the closest place to go for school was Warapoka. This community is miles away and the children had to leave by 5 a.m. and paddle five hours to get there at 10 a.m. when school is already in session.
“They would leave around 1 p.m. while school is still in session to get back to their village at 6 p.m.,” Dr. Moonsammy told the News Room in an interview via Zoom.
He explained that while the children were able to do this for two days, they subsequently stopped and were removed from the register.
The Village leader has since written words on his house walls to attempt to teach some of the students.
Dr. Moonsammy is seeking assistance to supply the children –ages three to 15 years old –with school supplies, tablets containing educational materials, solar panels for electricity and a boat and engine which can be used to transport them to Warapoka when school reopens.
Currently, schools are open for students preparing to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) in 2021.
But the doctor, who resides in Mabaruma, Region One, said “since the majority of them did not go to school, I don’t think there is anyone ready for CSEC. They might have the age but they’re not being taught for a long time.”
With the help of others, the young professional is looking to reduce cases of teenage pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, child labour and suicide in not only Unity Grant but other remote areas where there is no access to education.
“Working with the health team, I’ve worked in all areas of the Region and we’ve seen this over and over. Trying to prevent things like teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and these other things, we find that we need to start with the education of the children, parents, changing of cultures, to get them out of the society and give them a future.
“So when I heard they don’t have education, I look at the possibility in next ten years, you know, they won’t have a job, many will become pregnant,” he explained.
The second village to be targeted is Five Star in the Port Kaituma District.
Dr. Moonsammy is hoping to make a change for these students by Christmas 2020. To assist, you can contact him on +592- 687-8654.