Back-to-school in May Pen became an extraordinary moment for both students and their parents on Monday, September 2 when Digicel showed up unexpectedly, paying the bus fares for over 1000 school children and sharing free coffee, tea and school supplies.
By 7 a.m. scores of youngsters, many accompanied by their parents, converged on the May Pen Town Centre, on their way to the first day of school in the parish. Students smartly clad in new uniforms and shiny shoes piled onto buses plying routes to nine schools in the surrounding communities, including Vere Technical High School, Bustamante High School, Glenmuir High School and even as far as Clarendon College and Edwin Allen High School.
Marcia, a single mother of three, expressed gratitude at the kind gesture from the telecoms company. “Geesam peez! Digicel a pay fare fi mi three children dem? No sah! That’s why mi cyaa lef’ out mi Digicel enuh! Boy mi a tell u me glad, me glad, me glad cyaa done cause to how them raise the fare pon we mi not even know weh mi ago fin’ it from fi send them go a school.”
One student exclaimed what Digicel’s gesture meant to him. “This morning mi father give me $250 and say is that alone him have. Is $240 for my fare just to go school and come back an’ mi know my parents not going to be able to find that every day. So right now, mi really happy that Digicel pay mi fare.”
Shelly-Ann Harris, senior communications manager at Digicel explained the rationale behind the initiative. “As we did in January this year, we wanted to reach out to our customers in a meaningful way, particularly on this all-important first day of school. And with the recent bus fare increase, we wanted to ease the pressure off parents and students as they begin the new academic year. At Digicel we continue to live by our mantra of always finding ways to give back to our customers and today we are happy to do just that,” Harris explained. As part of the activities, His Worship, the Mayor of Clarendon Councillor Scean Barneswell, was on hand to help to serve tea and distribute school supplies to students on their way to school. He commended Digicel for the gesture saying how good it was to add something like this to the first back-to-school day. “I am happy to see this happening and I am very pleased with Digicel’s involvement in this. Things like these show us that Digicel is not only a telephone provider but a contributor to nation building,” said Barneswell.