United Way, Republic Bank share care to Trinidad and Tobago schools

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Republic Bank employees paint the front entrance of the St John’s Girls’ RC School in Diego Martin on May 20. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

ZALAYHAR Hassanali, widow of late president Noor Hassanali and patron of NGO United Way Trinidad and Tobago (UWTT), said the country needed help and those in a responsible position to do so, should.

She spoke as over 70 Republic Bank Ltd employees repainted the exterior of the St John’s Girls’ RC School, Church Street, Diego Martin on May 20. The employees also had plans to do planting as well and trough planters were prepared for that purpose.

Hassanali said, “It is all about Republic Bank has the power to make a difference and United Way has decided to have this day of caring.”

The NGO’s National Day of Caring began in 2013 and is its signature volunteer employee engagement event, its website said.

It added, “Corporate partners engage with their employees to give their time and energy to their chosen projects. The projects were planned and executed on the third Sunday of May to provide a sense of national scale in its reach and number of volunteers.

“Projects range from improving schools and NGO buildings, beach clean-ups, and community outreach like growing gardens to delivering care packages for elderly homes.”

Hassanali said many came on Saturday as the projects continued over the weekend.

“It is so wonderful to see so many of them giving back. My husband and I brought United Way to Trinidad and Tobago. My husband was at the University of Toronto and he brought down Gordon Cressy (former Canadian politician) to start United Way here in Trinidad and Tobago and I have been with them since the beginning.”

Hassanali said she was going around to the different projects to encourage the volunteers.

While the different projects help many schools etcetera, Hassanali said she also wanted to teach children to take care of the things given to them.

“They can’t be doing all of this and the children make a mess of it.” Hassanali said it was even more important now to show acts of care because a lot of people did not think of helping, caring and sharing. “They are getting into these gangs and that bothers me a lot. I want to see them doing things like these and helping each other.

“Helping other children, there are so many children who need help. The whole country needs help and those of us who are in a responsible position have to help.”

Employees of Republic Bank Ltd plant vegetable seedlings at the St John’s Girl’s RC School in Diego Martin for this year’s Republic Bank and United Way National Day of Caring Initiative on May 20. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

Republic Bank’s group president and CEO Nigel Baptiste said the bank through its Power to Make a Difference programme – which has been in existence for over 25 years – contributed financially and otherwise to many charities across the world.

Baptiste said the company felt it was important its staff got personally involved in its investment with United Way TT.

He said the financial institution’s staff was also at four other locations in TT, participating in the day of care.

The bank has been a partner with UWTT since its inception in the country.

While the bank contributes, monetarily to the NGO, it also contributes sweat equity.

For Baptiste, it was important for corporate bodies to do this kind of work in the country.

“We can all invest money and that is the easy thing to do. It is much harder to give of your own time. And the reason I think it is important is because we are all in existence because of our customers throughout the community of Trinidad and Tobago.

“And anything we can do to give back personally, makes a complete difference to how it is received on the other end,” he said.

UWTT’s resource development manager Kendall Teloka said planning for the Day of Caring planning began last year and the organisation began receiving project proposals around November 2023.

He said a total of 55 projects were adopted.

The day seeks to connect all employee and corporate donors with their beneficiaries, Teloka added.

“They come out on every third Sunday in May and come to primary schools, community residences and get to interact with these beneficiaries directly and also give back some sweat equity, volunteerism and some effort in painting and improving their surroundings as well.”