Trinidad and Tobago Consul General in New York, Dr. Harold Robertson, recently joined with New Brunswick, New Jersey based Global Literacy Project (GLP), members of the Rutgers University community and Ms. Jane Young-Anglim to launch an effort to establish academic resource libraries and multimedia labs in some thirty Tobago schools over the next four years.The Consular General was present on the Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus to celebrate sending off a 20 foot sea container with nearly 20,000 books and a 10 computers destined to be part of the creation of four new libraries in Tobago schools.
The ceremony was hosted by the Global Literacy Project under the patronage of its co-founders, Olubayi Olubayi and Denniston Bonadie. Dr. Olubayi said that the time had come to recognise the importance that a top notch education would play in the lives of young Tobagonians.
“Chief Secretary Orville London stated recently that soon, due to tourism, Tobago would be having a problem of finding accommodation for visitors to the island. In fact, Secretary London noted that he expected Tobago was making a kind of history that no one was appreciating. Well, the Global Literacy Project appreciates that with such a dramatic shift in economic structure happening, another concern is about the fact that the young people of Tobago must be prepared as leaders and entrepreneurs or they will be left behind, ending up with only mid-level and lower careers. We can ensure that graduates from Tobago schools are poised for success in this new global environment” Olubayi said.
The “Libraries for All Schools” project in Tobago initiative was inspired by Ms. Young-Anglim who single handedly established several libraries and computer centers in Tobago. The Global Literacy Project has partnered with her and will be expanding these initial libraries and computer centers as well as creating new. Each year GLP also hopes to send volunteer college students and other community members from the USA to Tobago to assist in the setting up of the new libraries.
“Several Tobago schools suffered damage from the recent hurricanes so this is a particularly opportune time for this shipment as it offers a vision of optimism and hope for the receiving students,” said Denniston Bonadie, GLP vice president. (The Trinidad and Tobago National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has estimated that it would take approximately $30 million to repair the damage caused by Ivan. Some 400 homes were believed damaged and several schools had some water damage due to roof leakages or failures.)
“It was really inspiring to be here today and see Dr. Robertson help send off the donation to Tobago. Seeing all these books and computers on the container and knowing that so many well meaning people came out to make it possible really inspired me and I’m going to be really involved in this project from now on” said Valerie McCree, a volunteer of Trinidadian descent.
In the follow-up program, Dr. Olubayi Olubayi noted that the Global Literacy Project will be looking to assist other Caribbean islands during the following years. Namely, the organisation intends to reach out to the devastated island of Grenada with an offer to aid in re-stocking its Public Library when restored and to also set up resource libraries in several of the island’s 57 primary schools and 19 public secondary schools beginning in 2005.