Six receive Rotary Women Empowerment Scholarships

L-R: Mr. Osborne Bowens – Dean of the SVGCC-DTVE (left), Ms. Shakeria Pratt (second from left, Ms. Faith Bellingy (3rd from left), Ms. Finicia Providence -Rotary incoming Foundation Chair (center – back), Ms. Christal Sutherland (front-center), Ms. Kimberly Bacchus (3rd from right), Ms. Nephtrei Miller (second from right) and Ms. Glynis Hay – Senior lecturer at DTVE (right).

By Admin. Updated, 4:50 p.m., Friday, March 4, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Six first-year female students at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education – DTVE of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College have received full funding to complete their two-year associate degree programs.

The students, mainly from the volcanic Red Zone areas, formally received the fully funded Women Empowerment Scholarships from the Rotary Clubs of St. Vincent at a small ceremony at the DTVE in Arnos Vale on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

The students are Shakeria Pratt, Faith Bellingy, Kimberly Bacchus, Mariya Badnock, Nephtrei Miller, and Christal Sutherland.

Their areas of study range from Mechanical Engineering to Architecture and Building Construction Technology to Agricultural Science.

Ms. Finicia Providence, the incoming Foundation Chair of the Rotary Club St. Vincent South said the purpose of the women empowerment scholarships is to equip and empower unskilled females with trade skills in formally male-dominated fields.

From left: Agricultural Science and Entrepreneurship Major – Ms. Kimberly Bacchus and Incoming Foundation Chair of Rotary Ms. Finicia Providence

“It’s often stated in our society that women cannot do what men can do but I totally disagree with such cliché as for years I have seen women do excellent in careers that were referred to as males only careers. Thus, the reason for the project is to empower and equip unqualified and unskilled females with trade skills in formerly male-dominated fields such as refrigeration repairs, electrical expertise, etc.,” Ms. Providence Said.

“This would qualify female tradespersons to contribute to the economic, social and physical development of their families and community,” Ms. Providence added.

Ms. Providence said that males are also included in the overall program.

“This programme will provide unskilled males with the necessary trade skills needed for them to gain employment which will contribute greatly to the development of themselves, families, communities on a whole,” Ms. Providence added.

Meanwhile, Dean of the DTVE Mr. Osborne Bowens told the scholarship recipients to make good use of the “very significant investment” in their education and to help others along the way when they get into a position to do so.

“I am asking that at some point in your journey that you reach out to and empower somebody else,” Mr. Bowens said.

The students also explained how the fully funded scholarships will aid them in pursuing and completing their education at the DTVE.

Mechanical Engineering major Ms. Shakeria Pratt.

Ms. Shakeria Pratt, who is pursuing an associate degree in Mechanical Technology said the scholarship funds will go a long way in helping her to successfully read for her engineering degree as she is a single parent mother of a nine-year old boy. She said the scholarship would finance her travelling to and from school, her materials and tools needed for the program, and other needs.

Agricultural Science and Entrepreneurship major – Ms. Kimberly Bacchus

Ms. Kimberly Bacchus, from Peruvian Vale, who is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Science and Entrepreneurship said she comes from an agricultural background and wants to influence the country’s food security policies in the future. She said if she did not get the scholarship “it would have been hard,” for her due to her single parent setting and the financial problems faced. 

Architecture and Building Construction Technology major – Ms. Faith Bellingy (left) and Rotary’s Incoming Foundation Chair – Ms. Finicia Providence (right).

Meanwhile, Faith Bellingy of Byrea, who is pursuing an associates degree in Architecture and Building Construction Technology said she had to quit college in 2019 due to a lack of financing and took up work in the Grenadines to support her family. She said the volcanic eruptions of April 2021 affected her family and she had to put in extra hours at work just to provide additional support to the family. She said she took a leap of faith to return to college in 2021 and an uncle told her about the scholarship program, and she applied. She said she was delighted when she was awarded the scholarship.

She said she chose the architecture program because of the love she developed for the felid back in secondary school.

 The Rotary Clubs’s Education funding is a total of $144,215. EC$123, 041 was donated towards the Women’s Empowerment project and EC $21,000 just over was allocated towards the Male Empowerment Project which is consist of community based Skills training.

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