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Story Highlights

  • The University of Technology (UTech) Students’ Union launched its 50th annual Tag Drive on November 9, with a target of $2 million, to be generated from donors across the island and events scheduled to take place this week.
  • Dubbed the ‘Golden Drive’, this year’s event is being observed under the theme: ‘End the Silence, Stop the Violence Against Women and Child Abuse’.
  • Speaking on behalf of beneficiary, Children First, Candice Bulli expressed gratitude for the funding received from the Students’ Union since 2102.

The University of Technology (UTech) Students’ Union launched its 50th annual Tag Drive on November 9, with a target of $2 million, to be generated from donors across the island and events scheduled to take place this week.

Dubbed the ‘Golden Drive’, this year’s event is being observed under the theme: ‘End the Silence, Stop the Violence Against Women and Child Abuse’.

“We hope to far exceed what has been achieved in previous years. We recognise and understand that it is difficult to achieve these things on our own and so we invite you to join us on this journey in creating the Jamaica we desire,” Students’ Union Director of Community Service, Akili Henny, said at the launch, held at the Technology Innovation Centre on the university’s Old Hope Road campus.

This year, the beneficiaries of the Tag Drive are: the Jamaica Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Children First Agency, the Dominican Relief  Fund, and the Blessed Assurance Mustard Seed Home, to which the students at the university’s Western Campus will donate funds they collect in that section of the island.

Acting UTech President, Professor Colin Gyles, commended the students’ commitment to service, underscoring that it is in keeping with the institution’s history and culture.

“UTech has a tradition of giving to the community, which over the years has been immense,” he noted.

Speaking on behalf of beneficiary, Children First, Candice Bulli expressed gratitude for the funding received from the Students’ Union since 2102. She said the cash donations have always been made at opportune times and thanked the Union for helping to keep the doors of the institution open.

Children First, she said, uses the money “to enhance the overall delivery of one of our flagship programmes – the Children’s First Achievement Centre – a holistic numeracy and free vocational skill training programme serving over 120 children aged 10 to 16 years in Spanish Town, after which they are streamlined into the formal school system and are monitored.”

She informed that in May 2015, Children First secured its first Grade 9 Achievement Test placements.

“A total of 15 out of 15 students successfully matriculated towards placements into traditional high schools and other institutions of higher learning,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of long-standing beneficiary, the Jamaica Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Executive Director, Christine Rodriquez, expressed thanks for the assistance given to the organisation over the years,

“We have had a long partnership and in the early days, the money that was given to us went into the School of Hope, but in recent years, we have been using the money to build out the adult programme for students with intellectual disabilities,” Ms. Rodriquez said.

Keynote speaker at the launch, Vice President, Development and Community Service (UTech), Professor Rosalea Hamilton, commended the students for the selection of the theme, pointing to its relevance and timeliness.

She called on students to take seriously, the matter of violence against women and girls as well as all types of child abuse and actively become a part of the solution.

“This problem is real and exists all around us. I don’t think we can continue to bury our heads in the sand. It is not simply a feminist argument for attention,” she said.

Sponsors for this year’s Tag Drive include the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), JNWay, Digicel, IWatch Campus, Wray & Nephew, Reggae Jammin, Fi Wi Jamaica, Pepsi, RJR Communications Group, and Moya Lovely.