The International Federation of Women Lawyers’ (FIDA) Grand Bahama chapter recently made contributions to the Grand Bahama community through education and social service.
FIDA awarded two University of The Bahamas (UB) students with educational funds and made a donation to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH), during a presentation at Mary Ann’s restaurant on Wednesday (September 12).
FIDA Grand Bahama Chapter President, Zia Lewis-Adams spoke on how these initiatives came about. She stated that on June 1, 2018 FIDA hosted a gala fund-raiser to support their scholarship program and the GBCH.
“The evening proved to be a success and today FIDA is delighted to donate part of the evening’s proceeds to Mrs. Sheila Johnson-Smith of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home. We are also pleased to announce the award of an academic scholarship to its tenth recipient, Miss Cassidy Purcell,” she said.
The FIDA Scholarship is an award of $2,000 each year for two years of study at UB. The award is available for Bahamian citizens and Grand Bahama residents who are recent graduates from a High School on Grand Bahama Island. They must have at least five BGCSEs at Grade ‘C’ or above, including Mathematics and English; and a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 from High School.
Lewis-Adams furthered that Purcell is a 2018 graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy and was successful in obtaining eight (8) Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) passes at grade ‘C’ and above.
Purcell told this daily that the scholarship will go a long way in her education.
“It is a tremendous help for me and my family and I could use it to purchase books and supplies for college,” she said.
Purcell is currently enrolled at UB and is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration: Accounting Degree. Her professional goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant.
In 2009 FIDA introduced a book grant in the amount of $500.00 for a student or students attending the College of The Bahamas in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement.
This year’s book grant recipient is Zsa Zsa Wallace, a 2018 graduate of Bishop Michel Eldon High School. Wallace is currently pursuing an Associates Arts Degree in Creative Arts.
Darnell Wallace mother of Zsa Zsa Wallace accepted the grant on her behalf, she echoed Purcell’s sentiments.
“We’re excited because every little bit helps, she’s in college and she’s doing art and she’s always in need of supplies, and so this is welcoming. We appreciate it so much,” she said.
Keturah Babb, UB North Alumni Relations and Development Officer also spoke to this daily. She stated that UB is extremely happy to partner with FIDA.
“A lot of persons know that we have scholarships that are covered by the Bursary, but we also have fees that students also have to pay for. We find that students at UB North are unable to cover those fees, so we’re very appreciative of FIDA and other community partners who are willing to come out and see where the need is at the University and give back to students so they can finish their tertiary education,” she said.
The 2018/2019 FIDA Scholarship Committee members are Keturah Babb, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations and Development, UB – North: Aisha Stuart-Smith, FIDA GB Chapter immediate Past President and Partner in the law firm of McKinney, Bancroft and Hughes; Jethlyn Burrows, FIDA International immediate Past President and Counsel and Attorney in the law firm of Musgrove Burrows Law Chambers; Karen Brown, FIDA GB Chapter Assistant Secretary and Partner in the law firm of Higgs and Johnson; and Charisse Brown, Senior Legal Counsel of the Grand Bahama Development Company Limited and Chairman of the Committee.
Sheila Johnson-Smith Executive Director of the GBCH also expressed her appreciation of the donation made to the GBCH. She revealed that FIDA presented the home with a check for $1500 that would go towards the maintenance needs of the home.
“The Children’s Home is in desperate need of maintenance. We have not been able to do anything for many years,” she said.
She added that the home is in constant use and they currently have over 20 children residing there.
Johnson-Smith noted that FIDA has been a wonderful partner for the GBCH and encouraged the wider community to assist the GBCH in whatever way they can.
FIDA is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Organized in Mexico City in 1944, to promote the principles and aims of the United Nations in their legal and social aspects, FIDA works to establish friendly international relations on a basis of mutual respect and equality and to promote the welfare of women and children.
Individual membership is open to male and female law graduates admitted to practice in their respective countriesor eligible or eligible to be admitted. Academics and law students also are invited to membership. Apolitical, non-profit, independent organizations of women lawyers may affiliate with FIDA as voting members.
Men and women non-lawyers interested in the advancement of women in the legal profession may participate in FIDA as patrons. FIDA New Providence was re-established as a chapter in March 2014.