Kingston, Jamaica – Thursday, November 10, 2016: Five parents of students with special needs were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to scholarships from the School of Therapy, Education and Parenting (STEP) Centre.
Observing that the cost of education for children with special needs increases as they grow older, Hilary Sherlock, principal of the STEP centre shared how important it was for parents to get as much support and financial assistance as possible to get their children into the programmes necessary for their development.
“Many times, children affected by complex mental and physical disabilities are kept at home because parents are unable to afford the tuition of institutions partially-funded by the Government,” Sherlock stated. “Sometimes, even just the transportation costs are a challenge for the parents because if they don’t drive, they have to make special arrangements to transport their children since they can’t travel on the regular buses.”
A beneficiary of the annual Digicel 5K Run, the STEP Centre funded its scholarship programme through a donation of $670,000 from the Digicel Foundation in 2015. These scholarships will go towards tuition fees, transportation and medical expenses.
One of the scholarship recipients is Micha Manning who suffers from cerebral palsy. His mother- Barbara Russell has struggled with the cost of educating her son after her job was made redundant in 2013; even sharing that the medical costs associated with having a special needs child almost prevented her from sending her son to a special needs institution.
The STEP Centre, a 19-year-old institution, has also benefited from various investments from the Digicel Foundation over the past four years. This includes the building of a $28-million-dollar facility in 2014, which was also made into one of the Digicel Foundation’s Centres of Excellence. The STEP Centre has been a beneficiary of the annual Digicel Imagine 5K Run since its first staging in 2011.
About Digicel Group
Digicel Group is a total communications and entertainment provider with operations in 33 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After more than 14 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.
Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Caribbean Premier League. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.
Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.