Three charitable organisations are the beneficiaries of cash injections totalling US$70,000, from the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine’s Student Government Association (SGA).
The recipients were the Antigua and Barbuda Sickle Cell Association, the CARE Project, and the Soup Kitchen, which received US$30,000, US$25,000, and US$15,000, respectively.
SGA President Nikita Srivalsan, a second-year medical student, explained that the association wanted to give back to organisations that are providing relief and recovery to specific communities impacted by the current circumstances.
“We understand the difficulties and challenges this pandemic has brought for everyone. We hope this donation allows these organisations to continue the wonderful work they are undertaking for the community that has given AUA students and faculty a place to call home,” Srivalsan said.
On hand to receive the donations were President of the Sickle Cell Association Dr Edda Hadeed and an association member; Acting Matron of the CARE Project Ashline Francis RN; and Veldon Ragguette of the Soup Kitchen.
As detailed in a press release, Dr Hadeed expressed her heartfelt appreciation to the SGA for the generous donation which she said was much more than she ever dreamed possible.
She disclosed that “the disbursement is quite timely as it will assist with establishing a long overdue sickle cell clinic”. In addition, the funds will enable her to launch an ‘in-shelter’ workshop pilot programme.
“Some of the more severely affected patients are unable to retain full-time employment and the skills training workshop will provide them with the means of earning an income,” Dr Hadeed added.
Nurse Francis expressed appreciation on behalf of the government and the CARE Project.
She stated that “complete health assessments for the residents are currently a priority and the funds will certainly cover these expenses”.
In addition, she expressed the hope that medical equipment currently on her wish list could also be purchased.
In expressing his appreciation for the generous donation to the Soup Kitchen, Ragguette said the amount exceeded his highest expectations.
He added that the donation will enable him to continue providing hot meals for the less fortunate. In addition, the funds will also help him to establish a fruit orchard to provide a supply of fresh fruit for distribution to the needy and hopefully create a source of income for the Soup Kitchen.
Meanwhile, AUA’s Vice President for Administration, Vernon Solomon, explained that each semester, students work with charitable organisations in the community to bring awareness to health related as well as social issues and lend assistance whenever possible.
Unfortunately, the global pandemic did not allow students to do as much in 2020 as they would have done in previous years.
Nonetheless, they collaborated with the university to secure the funding and the institution is extremely proud of the care and compassion they have demonstrated.
Despite their own challenges, they saw the importance of supporting the efforts of The Sickle Cell Association, The CARE Project, and The Soup Kitchen.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all that you have been doing for Antigua and Barbuda. Your hard work and dedication should not be ignored. I would encourage others to find it in their hearts to see how they too may be able to assist in your ongoing efforts,” Solomon told the beneficiaries.