Toronto-based Guyanese professor donates hundreds of computers, books to secondary schools, UG

Rita Persaud (right) and one of the donors, Mila Gould, while packing one of the shipments last month.

A Canada-based Guyanese has donated more than 100 computers and books to half a dozen educational intuitions, which include schools in regions Two and Six and the University of Guyana.

Rita Persaud, who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Bellevue University in Nebraska, USA, a professor at the George Brown College, Toronto, and a Director at Evergreen College, Markham, Greater Toronto Area, told Stabroek News that she, with assistance from her peers, has donated computers and books to six schools in the country, including UG.

The other five schools – Berbice High School, JC Chandisingh, Anna Regina Secondary School, Abram Zuil Secondary School and Cotton Field Secondary school – are located in regions Six and Two.

Persaud indicated that she plans on sending more assistance to schools around the country in the future.

The professor explained that she left Guyana in the 80s and spent the majority of her life in Canada but has always been closely connected to her home country. She previously taught at the Berbice High School.

“I actually used to be a teacher at the Berbice High School and obviously I know that they need resources and so I spoke with the headmistress and she had mentioned that they needed pencils and dictionaries and things like that; little things. And so I thought these were like basic necessities. Why are the students not having pencils? And that was weird and I spoke to some folks out here in Canada and from the college I am teaching and we thought maybe we can send those things but we can also send other things like computers,” Persaud said.

She explained that after she made contact with the five secondary schools, she drafted a letter to the chairperson of her school, Dr. Carolyn Youssef-Morgan, who is an expert in Psychological Capital, asking whether it was a good idea to donate some computers to the five schools “from the kindness of my heart and the need of the people.”

“She gave the go-ahead and I spoke with my employers at George Brown College and Evergreen College. I initially asked for five computers but they came back with over 100 computers for the schools and over 300 textbooks,” Persaud said, while explaining that the donations were sent to the country in three shipments.

“The second shipment is cleared and we saw pictures of the computers at the schools in Essequibo and it is so wonderful,” she added, while explaining that the first and third shipments, which are destined for Berbice, have not yet been delivered and are expected to arrive shortly.

Persaud also noted that she was able to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, who was able to liaison with the Ministry of Education to ensure that the computers were delivered to the schools.

In addition to the computers, 300 text books were also sent to the University of Guyana, and Persaud pointed out that the idea to send books came from her boss at George Brown College, Dr. Elizabeth Sprees.

“I saw Dr. Sprees while riding up the escalator at King subway station. I had just [mailed] the first shipment of computers and saw Dr. Sprees at the bottom of the escalator. I was so excited I shouted whether she saw the pictures of me sending the computers. She did. She said I should try sending some textbooks and so I started to collect books. I collected 300 text books that the University of Guyana should now receive,” she added, while stating that she has since contacted the Chancellor and the Librarian from UG.

Persaud added that the first shipment featured donations from several persons while the majority of the second shipment and the entirety of the third were self-funded.

“In order for me to ship the computers I invited folks who donated to show up to pack the shipments. It is wonderful to support the students in Guyana. We are all in a position to give in a small way and we all did,” Persaud said, while stating that she wants to thank all the staff from the George Brown College, Bellevue University, Greentec and Tennesse Shipping, as well as the community members and companies in Toronto, the United States of America, Sweden and former Berbice High School students who helped financially.

Persaud also related that the Guyana Consulate in Toronto presented certificates of appreciation to the Evergreen and George Brown colleges for their contributions.

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