Amid price hikes, $30k schoolchildren cash grant offers relief to families

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All schoolchildren in Guyana, including those attending private schools, will receive a $30,000 cash grant from the Ministry of Education.

This grant is expected to bring substantial relief to families, particularly amid the increased cost of living.

This year’s distribution exercise commenced in all regions on Tuesday. By the end of the week, the substantive exercise should be completed with more than 200,000 children expected to benefit.

Hansraj Singh, a father of four children, is one of the hundreds of parents who received cash grants on Tuesday.

Singh told the News Room that he has faced significant financial challenges recently. Because of those challenges, he said that he has been squatting in Canal #2, West Bank Demerara.

Hansraj Singh

As he works towards his own living space, the father said that this grant will allow him to purchase much-needed stationery and other school supplies for his children ahead of the new academic year, commencing in September.

Similarly, a mother of two, Jimila Skeete, was another parent who welcomed the grant. According to her, parents like herself have been encountering many difficulties in providing for their children ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.

Jimila Skeete

Education Minister Priya Manickchand acknowledged these concerns and posited that the cash grant is a timely intervention, given the increased burden placed on families and households because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine/ Russia crisis.

“We are very aware that the cost of living has gone up.

“We are not dodging that,” Manickchand told parents at the Belle West Primary School in Region Three (Essequibo Islands- West Demerara) on Tuesday.

This ‘Because We Care’ initiative was first instituted by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) in 2014. After returning to office in 2020, the PPP/C administration reinstated the grant and promised to incrementally increase it until it gets to $50,000.

Minister Manickchand hinted previously that this sum could possibly increase beyond $50,000.

This year each child will receive $25,000 under the ‘Because We Care’ initiative. The schoolchildren’s uniform grant has also been increased to $5,000, meaning that each child is expected to receive a total of $30,000.

Manickchand assured residents that the grant will be distributed countrywide this week so that each parent can comfortably purchase much-needed school supplies before schools reopen in September.

Importantly, too, she contended that the distribution process is replete with several checks and balances to ensure that the entire sum allocated will be fairly distributed to all schoolchildren once listed on their official school register.

Altogether, a sum of more than $6 billion will be distributed to children countrywide.

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