90% of “Because We Care” cash grants already uplifted—Manickchand


As the deadline for collecting the “Because We Care” cash grant comes to an end, about 90 per cent of the allotted funds have been thus far collected, according to Education Minister Priya Manickchand.

This Education Ministry-led initiative commenced on Monday and offered parents and guardians a chance to collect a $40,000 cash grant per child to help with their educational needs.

Any child attending a private or public school, from the nursery level to Grade 10 or those who registered for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) were eligible.

Grants were distributed across the country at various locations, as advertised on the Ministry’s social media channels, to parents and guardians with valid forms of identification.

Though the period for upliftment of the grants technically ends today, the Minister noted that provisions will be made for those who have not yet been able to collect the funds.

“It’s not supposed to end today [Friday]. We still have some far-flung places, for example, we attempted to go to Eterinbang [in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) on Thursday] and that was a disaster because of the weather. [We] got there and had to turn back,” Manickchand said.

“Some places like Karisparu [in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni)], you have to get a particular type of aircraft…that wasn’t available to us,” Manickchand said, adding that despite these challenges, children within these areas will not be neglected.

Minister Manickchand noted that while about 90 per cent of grants were collected, there was some proportion of persons in each region who were unable to uplift them within this timeframe for a number of reasons.

“So, we have one final day in every region where there’s a central point where people can go to pick this up,” Manickchand said.

Minister Manickchand commended the work of both Ministry officials and the teachers within schools across the country who facilitated the smooth process of grant collection throughout this week.

She added that the Ministry has made continuous efforts to best accommodate parents and guardians in uplifting this grant that is expected to increase to at least $50,000 within the next two years.

During the first year of the cash grant programme in 2021, distribution was done in the last week of August but the Ministry received several notes of feedback that this timeline was too late for parents and guardians to make informed decisions.

As such, in 2022, grant distribution was slated for July but this required persons to return to schools within their holiday period.

“This year, because tests begin next week, we can’t do it next week, we can’t do it the following week and school closes the next week so we end up back in the same holiday period,” Manickchand said.

“This was the only time we could’ve done this if we were to hear our parents and teachers and try as much as we want to give this benefit and this service,” she added.

This year, over 214,000 children of public and private schools were expected to benefit from the cash grant programme.

This equates to some $8.6 billion in disposable income being made available to families nationwide.