As you may or may not know, most of our parents in Bellas Gate did not get the opportunity to learn to read. Many were functional illiterates because their parents did not have the wherewithal to provide them with an education. Cognizant of the fact that education was vital and a prerequisite to our social and economic development, our parents made a concerted effort to break the chains of illiteracy in an attempt to reduce poverty. However, providing their children with school uniforms, supplies, meals, and other basic necessities, and helping them with homework assignments, became herculean. For many students, school absenteeism became the prevalent academic legacy.
Many of us have been fortunate to escape this impoverished lifestyle, and have relocated to other communities or immigrated to foreign countries in search of greener pastures. Many have made gallant efforts and have become academically and or economically successful. Most of our friends, acquaintances, family members, and their children, however, still remain in our community of birth harnessing similar resources and restrictions our grandparents and parents had. Thus, there is little or no hope for the community and the dreams and aspirations of the children remain shattered.
I do believe the time is ripe for us, past students of Bellas Gate Primary School, to unite and help break the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and hopelessness in our community so that our citizens can better their economic positions to elevate and empower themselves. I know that many of us have continued to make individual and collective monetary and in kind contributions to temporarily halt destitution and resurrect the forgotten smiles of our children; many have kept the lines of communication open to stay abreast of new developments, and to provide social support and encouragement to the less fortunate in our community; many have chosen to disassociate themselves with the hope to erase or ease the lingering psychological pain of the past; but our history has to be disseminated, and our present inventoried and assessed so we can contribute and build a more realistic, meaningful, and sustainable future for the betterment of our children and our community.
It is my vision and my aim to help our community become literate so our citizens can improve their earning potentials and lifestyles; to empower our school, churches, and community so our citizens can learn together, worship together, socialize and work together, in order to have a strong and cohesive community; to equip the children of Bellas Gate, regardless of their socio-economic background, to get a quality education comparable to that of others so they will no longer depend on the fields for sustenance but be able to compete effectively and efficiently in this global marketplace.
Single handedly we can do only so much but collectively we can make this happen. Will you please help to make this vision a reality?