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Sep 16, 2011

SMART gives bags to deserving students

While a little over a hundred students benefited from free haircuts through the annual Trimming Drive in Memory of Maurice Usher, another group of deserving children went back to school well equipped. The kids from Stella Maris were treated to school supplies as part of Smart’s community outreach programs. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The 2011 academic year got underway a week and a half ago and while some students enjoy the advantage of returning to their classrooms with new a look and attitude there are others who cannot afford basic necessities.  In September of last year Smart launched a campaign to assist underprivileged children with stationeries, items including schoolbags, pens and notebooks that are must-haves for any serious student.  This time the company’s pubic relations team went a step further in identifying forty kids with special needs whom they are lending a helping hand.  Ian Courtenay is the PR Manager at Smart.

Ian Courtenay, Public Relations Manager, Smart

“Last year we started this with our Smarty campaign and the Stay In School [campaign].  We did, we gave to primary schools in the city and districts and this year we thought that we would do something different and approach institutions that may have other challenges than the regular challenges of a normal school.  I approached the administration here and knowing the difficult work that the teachers have here and so on.  We felt that this was one thing that we can hopefully take away the need for the kids with supplies and so on. So they gave us the numbers that they needed and we were able this morning to deliver the first set of schoolbags to them.”

It’s a modest initiative but according to the school’s vice principal the much needed assistance will go a long way in ensuring that her students are present in school with all their accessories.

Dana Staine

Dana Staine, Vice Principal, Stella Maris School

“We are very grateful for the schoolbags because Stella Maris School caters to a hundred and forty students who have a special need.  So here at the school the students they have a variety of needs so we are very grateful for the schoolbags and the stationeries inside the bag.”

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the selection process to narrow it down to the most needy, how was that?”

Dana Staine

“Well we gave out the bags to the students that we noticed really needed a schoolbag.  Some of their bags were really falling apart so those students were selected based on the condition of their schoolbags.”

According to Courtenay the ongoing Smart Cares program will continue to identify schools and students that are in need of academic assistance throughout the course of the year. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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