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Help for Sharnette Daley

BY PETRE WILLIAMS-RAYNOR Career & Education editor williamsp@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, November 27, 2011


SINGLE mum Sharnette Daley gets to stay in school, thanks to the generosity of several kind Jamaican private, public and corporate citizens who have responded to her call for financial assistance.

Currently a student in management studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, the poor Old Harbour native was, up to a few weeks ago, facing certain deregistration for the non-payment of her tuition fees.

Now, more than a month since the Observer shared her story with the public, things are looking up.

"I have received $50,000 from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This was made possible through a Ms Audrey Deer-Williams who is a past student of my alumni, Glenmuir High. She saw the story and was moved and as such approached her workplace to assist and they did," Daley told Career & Education.

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"I received a cheque for $50,000 from the NCB Foundation as well. I also got $15,600 from the Jamaica Federation of Referees Association through a Mr Bryan Rhoden. Mr Pepon Ruddock also paid $5,000 towards the school fee," she added.

As such, Daley has managed to pay $120,600 of her $220,000-plus tuition fee for the year. That sum covers the first semester tuition.

The law firm Tucker and Murray out of Trelawny has committed to cover another $100,000 while others have committed to trying to raise whatever additional capital is needed.

"Ms Audrey Deer-Williams (got another) $10,000 from her Graduating Class of 1980 to assist me... (and) Mr Rhoden is still trying to get some more money from some friends of his to also assist me," said a grateful Daley. "All being well, I think that my tuition should be covered for this semester, and I even have extra to put towards next semester."

It comes as a relief to the 22-year-old who is struggling to take care of her only child — a boy whose father was killed earlier this year — while striving to lift herself and her family out of poverty through the acquisition of a tertiary education.

"I am elated. It shows that people out there actually do care," said Daley, who is herself, one of five children. "I don't know; I was at a loss for words at one point when I realised that things were actually working out, that there were people who were willing to give me work."

"It feels like this heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulder and I am going to try to make something of my life given the opportunity I have been given," she added.

Daley has indicated that she will apply to the Students' Loan Bureau in order to cover next year's tuition. And to help with her other school expenses, she said she will be looking to secure summer employment.

"There is a programme at school that I would like to take advantage of — the work and travel programme. A friend told me about it and she said that you can make enough money that (could help) finance your tuition... and transportation," she told Career & Education.

For the moment, Daley works in billings and receivables at the university. Her duties, she said, includes providing students with information on their financial balances and updating the data system.

For her efforts, she is paid $232 an hour.

"That helps with lunch money and transportation and also my little son who is home," said Daley, adding that she bunks with a friend in Kingston and goes home to Old Harbour each weekend to help save on expenses.

In addition to the people and organisations that have come to her aid, she also thanked the Observer.

"Believe me, words cannot express how grateful I am. It feels like you have helped to lift a rather heavy burden off my shoulder and put me on the right track to success and freedom from this poverty. As such, I will be able to make a better life for myself, my son, younger siblings and family on a whole. Thanks a lot," she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Leon HoSang, senior partner with Tucker and Murray Attorneys-At-Law, said it was only wise that entities like themselves and private citizens should get behind individuals in need.

"It is not money we have, but when times are hard that is the time that those who have a social conscience — even if it requires a sacrifice — should help... So people are not being charitable, they are doing good work in their own self-interest to create a greater level of social cohesion. It is only wise," he said. "Education is the surest way to solve some of our social problems. When people are educated they, generally speaking, don't resort to crime."

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