In the past we have protested against the miserable value of the school uniform voucher the Government provided to low-income or no-income parents. As we pointed out it was (and still is) enough to buy only part of a uniform. Now the President has decided that all parents – rich and poor – should get uniform vouchers.
The problem for parents who are working class and lower-middle class is that we will still be getting an amount that is too small to meet our needs, while rich people who can manage easily without the voucher get the same amount.
Where is the sense in that?
Where is the justice?
One Head Teacher told parents at her school “you all should write and tell the President thanks”. We disagree with this completely. The basis of our organizing is that as mothers we work far longer hours than anyone else and make a huge contribution to the economy which is unrecognized and unvalued. Our right to resources is what we are proclaiming when we participate as mothers in the annual Labour Day Marches, and what we were proclaiming when we organized a Mothers March of Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese, Mixed race and Indigenous grassroots women in Mahdia on International Women’s Day this year.
Means tests are difficult to do and when badly done, can be rude to poor people. But the Government has to solve that problem so that an adequate amount of money goes to those of us who really need it because so much of our work is unwaged and low-waged. We have a right to be able to give our children more than pieces of a uniform.
Joy Marcus and Joycelyn Bacchus
For Red Thread mothers of