Fifteen excited young students gratefully accepted laptops from the leadership of the Rotary Club of Sunset, after being selected from the recent essay competition.
The youngsters were presented with the electronic devices to assist with the what is becoming the new way of learning, virtual classes, due to the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19.
On Wednesday (September 9) club president, Nicola Rahming shared the importance of her club’s first project under her presidency.
“I became President of the Rotary Club of Sunset on July 1 and this is our first project. We believe in giving back to the community and for this particular project I partnered with the company KSM (Kotug Seabulk Marine) and Seacor Island Lines.
“I approached them with the idea, of what we could do to give back during these difficult times. Knowing that most of the kids will not return to the classrooms immediately we decided to donate laptops, or some sort of electronic devices where they kids would be able to do their classwork. They agreed and decided to donate 15 laptops each,” she explained.
“Rotary Club of Sunset is rather happy and pleased that they have agreed to do this and give back to the community. Our secretary, Wilsonette Adderley decided that we should make it interesting by implementing an essay competition rather than just finding random persons to give the laptops to.
“As of today, we still had essays being submitted even though the deadline was September 1. We had over 150 essays submitted; unfortunately, we cannot give everyone a laptop, but we were able to give out what we have here today,” she added.
She noted that the recipients range in ages encompassing primary, junior and high school grade levels.
“No tertiary education level students are recipients. We also focused on the island of Grand Bahama. We did have persons reach out to us from other islands asking if they were eligible to enter the competition, however, we made it clear that we would be focusing on Grand Bahama at this time.”
Questioned what she would say to other civic organizations as well corporate Grand Bahama to do their part in giving back to the youth of the nation.
She responded: “I would encourage corporate Grand Bahama, business places, that can give back, during these times to do so. These are trying times that we are in right now; a lot of persons are not working and are feeling the burden. During this time, under normal circumstances a lot of donations would have been given out for backpacks, pens and books.
“But now, I would encourage business places, if they can to donate laptops, then by all means please do so. Again, most students will not return to the classrooms right now. In some instances, students will be working from home while some may go into the classrooms. I would encourage corporate Grand Bahama to invest in the community and go ahead and donate laptops.”
Marine Operations Manager, Kotug Seabulk Maritime (KSM), LLC Chris Bhalai shared how pleased the company was to be a part of the tangible donation to the students.
“At KSM we strongly believe that the children are the future and so when Ms. Rahming presented us the opportunity to partner with the Rotary Club of Sunset, we were overjoyed that we could be part of this charitable donation and give back to the children.
“When we reflect on the current pandemic and we look at who are the parties that are most affected by it, we are saddened to know that the children are unfortunately one of those groups that are affected; not being able to go to school physically and sit down, not able to have that social interaction and nourishment that children need.
“With the modern technology now, that allows them to do this, sadly not everyone will be able to afford a laptop and so if we could help by giving back to the community we are grateful that we are in the position to do so. Wherever we can help we will try to do so,” he said.
Bhalai, like Rahming also encouraged other to do their part in giving back to the community as well.
“It starts with awareness and so just by us being here today and by your company broadcasting this it will help to raise awareness. Even before Ms. Rahming brought this to our attention we probably, with day to day happenings, we sometimes become so caught up with each of our tasks that we sometimes tend to forget some of these things. It starts with awareness and we are glad that we are a part of that now.
“Once that awareness goes out, we definitely encourage other companies who are able to do so, to give back where they can and to help out in other ways. It may not necessarily be this charitable donation like we have here today, but it may be a presence; just go out, give some man hours here and there at the various schools.
“I personally have done so because my children were enrolled in school here and so we know that just helping out, physically, with hours, wherever you can, it definitely goes a long way,” concluded Bhalai.
A few of the recipients expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the club for the wonderful gift, many of whom shared came at the perfect time.
Kia Simms, 16, shared a heartfelt thank you to the Rotary Club of Sunset for the laptop. She stated: “I am very, very grateful and very excited. This is something that I actually really needed and so it came through at a really good time.”
To the club she expressed: “I am very grateful; very appreciative of this opportunity. Thank you.”
Eleven-year-old Eldrin Ingraham stated: “I am overwhelmed that I was able to receive this gift from the Rotary Club of Sunset, because I borrowed a laptop from my Godmother because I did not have a laptop. I need a laptop for school and she also need her laptop back. And so, I am very happy that I was able to receive this gift. Thank you!”
Another recipient D’Angelo Beckles, 14, expressed: “It feels good to receive this laptop. I would like to say thank you to the Rotary Club of Sunset.”