WAND was founded in 1998 by four women pooling their resources to assist the less fortunate. Today the group consists of 11 women whose goal continues to be helping the more vulnerable in Trinidad and Tobago’s society. Projects have spanned north, south, east, west and central Trinidad, and members continue to seek projects in the sister isle of Tobago. Bocas-Ryan, her new Board and Executive members of Gloria Nelson — Secretary, Michal Andrews — Treasurer, Karen Lee Lum — Public Relations Officer, Mona Khan — Immediate past president, and Directors — Allison Harford, Anna Bonin, Penny Elias, Nicole Galt, Wendy Voss and Suzanne Clarke, thanked Father Clyde Harvey and the Board of the Morris Marshall Development Foundation “for giving WAND the opportunity to partner with them in the service of the people of St Barb’s, Laventille.”
With the constant and growing reports of crime and dispossession in East Port-of-Spain, WAND, in 2014, working with the Board through Father Harvey, parish priest of Gonzales and chairman of the MMDF, decided to contribute to the well-being of the children of St Barb’s and environs by setting up a holiday camp for 30 children last July/August aimed at developing leadership skills through a programme of education, fun and positive experiences to build confidence, self-esteem and problem solving skills.
Once an analysis of the programme showed what could be done to enhance the goal, WAND developed a strategy to raise funds to refurbish the Centre as the first step in achieving “the homework goal”.
In January 2015, with assistance from the Canadian High Commission through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, members of the business community and private citizens, WAND refurbished the MMDF Centre to give children with a facility to hold their After School Assistance Programmes, library, computer classes and other educational programmes.
WAND is committed to the Foundation’s vision to unite the community and provide an educational facility which encompasses culture, sport and other wide-ranging community oriented activities needed by the residents of Laventille but Bocas Ryan says help was needed from the government and business community to continue this reformation.
“We are interested in ensuring that the children of the area develop basic learning patterns and skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. We believe that homework assistance will go a long way in preparing the children to compete at the national level with other children in the school system, especially the highly competitive SEA annual examination,” she said.
“Wand is pleased to be associated with the Morris Marshall Board in its pursuit of implementing a homework programme,” she added.
“WAND is hopeful that our involvement, small as it may be, will benefit in particular the children, and that coming out of this exercise a strong Parent Teacher Association will emerge to give support to the Centre, to the children, and the community at large who we also hope will use the Centre.
“We trust and look forward to hearing of good results as the children learn and understand, that pursuit of excellence will bring success and rewards in life.”