Friday, 19 May 2017

Charitable Foundation Plans to Expand Projects Globally


By Neil Armstrong

Diana Burke, president of People Bridge Charitable Foundation.      Photo contributed

 A Toronto-based organization which has a worldwide reach and focuses on small-scale activities that produce large-scale results has plans to do more.

The People Bridge Charitable Foundation, headed by Jamaican, Diana Burke, is geared towards “promoting health care with individuals and communities and relieving poverty by developing and initiating projects which provide for the necessities of life as well as providing basic life skills to help people break the cycle of poverty.”

Burke says with the success of its upcoming gala in July, they plan to expand the projects the foundation is able to deliver globally in line with its mission and goals.

They are hoping to include projects in Barbados, Grenada, and to go back to Africa.

Burke wants anyone who knows of projects that match the purpose of People Bridge to contact them.

The foundation currently has projects in Mexico, Trinidad, Jamaica and Canada.

These include the Nueva Vida afterschool enrichment library program in Yucatan, Mexico operated under the Amistad Erie Yucatan, A.C. organization.

This project will provide high quality children’s books to assist in the girls’ studies and to promote the love of reading.

There are currently 26 girls aged five to twelve from low-income and single parent families participating in the program.

In Trinidad, the Rotary Club of Maraval’s La Seiva school project provides material to facilitate the purchase of musical instruments, music accessories, and music teaching materials for its music program.

The program was initiated with the understanding that music education is one of the most important aspects of education overall because of its ability to stimulate learning and development in every area of a child’s life.

This includes boosting academic achievement, fostering better social skills among students, fostering creativity, teaching discipline and patience, and overall nurturing the development of healthy attitudes and dispositions through a meaningful and enjoyable curriculum.

The Alpha Boys Institute in Kingston, Jamaica is getting some help with its music room audio treatment.

The foundation’s project is to build and install the audio treatment for their 25ft x 25ft new ensemble music room to improve and preserve sound quality.

Now its 137th year of Operation, the school serves 150 students in total, of which 40 are music students. Private lessons for instrument and voice are held after school and on weekends.

The curriculum is a unison curriculum designed for a vocational program. An immediate priority for the music department is to update the learning spaces which were built in the late 1940s and were not originally intended for music.

The Bob Marley Foundation and private donors have provided funds for construction of a flagship 25ft x 25ft ensemble music room.

This expansion will provide the at-risk and marginalized boys at the school with improved music education, job opportunities, and relationship and moral building.

In Toronto, People Bridge partnered with the group, Dames for Humanity, to provide fundraising and other financial capabilities needed to sponsor a Syrian Refugee family.

In December 2016, the family of six (four boys under the age of 16 and their parents) arrived in Toronto.

The family will be financially supported for one year as part of the private sponsorship program developed by the federal government. People Bridge is handling the financial requirements.

Over the last five years, the Foundation has completed projects in Trinidad, Tanzania, India and Jamaica.

People Bridge was expanded in 2012 to be the non-profit organization that funds projects in Jamaica based on the net revenues from the Jamaica 50 celebration initiatives undertaken in Toronto.

This resulted in some project initiatives, including Rise Life Management Services – Inner-City Youth Social Enterprise which provided skills training and employment for youth and community-based youth crime prevention programs for 250 youth in six volatile inner-city communities, including people with disabilities.

The Foundation also provided an Infantometer and vaccine refrigerator to the St. Thomas Child Health Centre and 17 coolers for transporting vaccinations to remote locations in St. Thomas.

This would improve that region’s ability to meet the WHO standards for child vaccinations.

It also helped with a screen-printing and music workshop at the Alpha Boys School.

The project provided expansion and enhancements to their screen-printing vocation training and production facilities for the Alpha Wear JA clothing line.

This expansion will provide the at-risk and marginalized boys resident at the school with marketable vocational skills as well as ensure the program’s sustainability.

In 2016, it completed the Rotary Club of Maraval’s Rampanalgas school project in Trinidad that provided equipment to help teaching and student development - specifically remedial learning materials and updated computer and science laboratory equipment.

The Foundation has also worked with the Institute of Jamaica’s junior centre music development program resulting in the purchase of musical instruments to enhance it.

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania it helped with a recycled glass project which creates viable means for disabled Tanzanians to earn a sustainable income.

In 2011, People Bridge funded the purchase of nutritional supplements for 125 patients with tuberculosis for one year at the J. Watumull Global Hospital & Research Centre in Mt. Abu Rajasthan, India.

The People Bridge Charitable Foundation was founded in 1997. Since June 2010, it has operated under the direction of a new Board of Directors. The Foundation is dedicated to reducing poverty and promoting good health care in communities around the world while also being responsive to emergencies wherever they may be. The organization continues to provide financial assistance to a wide range of charitable causes. From small to moderately sized community projects, People Bridge connects people in need with the resources to succeed.

People Bridge will hold its Fundraising Gala Dinner 2017, celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada, on July 8, 6:30 p.m. at The Old Mill, 21 Old Mill Rd., Toronto. Special guest and MC: Dwayne Morgan, patron of People Bridge
Price: $85 www.peoplebridgecharity.org

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