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JIS News

Eleven-year-old Renae McLeod is the last of 10 children in her family but, with an unemployed, single parent mother challenged with schooling all of her children, she had to turn to selling guineps to give her mother support.
During the summer holidays, while other children jetted off for their vacation or stayed home and participated in other fun activities, Renae consistently made the daily trek to Jamalco’s main gate, Halse Hall, Clarendon, to sell her guineps to earn a living.
Desreen Latty, a security contractor at Jamalco, observed the 11-year-old’s mode of survival and, after sharing lunch with the youngster on several occasions, decided to bring her plight to the attention of Jamalco’s Corporate Services and Government Affairs Manager, Leo Lambert.
Arrangements were made for Renae to visit the Corporate Services department, where Administrative Assistant, Vanecia Harris, heard her story. It was revealed that although Renae was entering Grade 6, and would be preparing to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) this school year, she had no GSAT books.
“My mother said I must sell the guineps to help to buy my uniform and school shoes to go back to school,” the Grade 5 student at Hazard Primary, Clarendon, told JIS News.
Her last average was 94%, and she had placed 7th in her class of 47, the Jamalco staff learnt. She disclosed that she had never owned a text book since going to school, and that she was warned by a teacher that she was not going to be allowed to use other students’ books.
On Friday(September 4), way ahead of the start of the new school year, Renae was presented with her GSAT textbooks, school supplies, including uniform, school bag and a pair of shoes and other items of clothing. Later that day, Public and Community Relations Administrator at Jamalco Pamela White, treated her to lunch at a popular restaurant in May Pen.
“I feel good about it, because it tek nuff of the burden off mi, especially at the start of the school year,” Renae’s mother, Chinda Forbes, responded as she thanked Jamalco for the support.
“There is no greater gift than hope, and like hundreds of others that is what we have given to Renae,” said Mr. Lambert.
“We watched her face transform from that of a child fearful of the future, to one who is now anticipating the future. She is a special little girl, and we know she is going to do well, and we will be watching her progress and are committed to doing all it takes to ensure that she realises her full potential,” he shared with JIS News.

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