The Minister for Social Development and Housing, Hon. Delma Thomas, has made a plea to students and relevant beneficiaries to see the cash support by Government for vulnerable youth, titled SEED, as a true hand up and not a hand out.
Speaking at the launch of a public awareness campaign for the Support for Education Empowerment and Development (project), SEED, at the Ministerial Complex, the Minister urged young recipients to use the cash assistance to transform their lives, and improve the nation’s human capital.
“Young people have the potential to break inter-generational poverty; but they must want it and they must meaningfully use SEED to change their reality and their family’s reality,” Minister Thomas said.
The Minister encouraged beneficiaries to develop a mindset that can help break the back of poverty and transform families and that government will always seek to provide support for those most in need.
She noted that although SEED is not a pension scheme, elderly beneficiaries will continue to get cash assistance.
SEED, which unifies three previously existing assistance Programmes: the Necessitous Fund, the School Transportation Allowance and the Public Assistance Programmed, is now more efficient, better able to deliver benefits, and more transparent in targeting among other improvements.
The Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Barbara Charles, said that the Social Safety Net Policy framework sets SEED in a position to become more and more effective along with the Ministry under which it falls.
“The underlined reform principles of SEED is that it targets the country’s most vulnerable and ties the financial transfer to core responsibilities that promote human capital development, including adherence to health protocols and regular school attendance,” Permanent Secretary Charles said.
SEED Manager, Mrs. Leonora Buckmire noted that the project has made some significant strides and will continue to deliver results to make it a worthy pilot for the region, which is part of the plan of the funders.
“SEED will educate, empower and develop a new brand of citizens for the new economy. It will make a positive difference in our social landscape and add value to our nation. SEED will be a model to the Caribbean,” Mrs. Buckmire said.
She also unveiled a beneficiary education island-wide programme which starts on Monday30 in St George’s and will end in St John’s in just under 2 weeks. Several media interviews will also be done as part of the campaign.
SEED officers, assigned to the project in the various parishes were present at the launch, as well as other officials from the Ministry of Social Services.