New Financial Initiative for UWI Students
Students at the University of the West Indies who have to pay thousands of dollars in tuition fees come September, or be obliged to withdraw from the institution, now have a new option to consider. A small group of US and Barbados businesses have come together to launch a compelling Global Initiative and Fundraising Campaign, designed to empower university students to “earn” the funds they need to pay their tuition fees, working online and/or offline as Sales & Marketing Affiliates for various commercial services.
Called “OPERATION: TuitionPay” or “OTP“, the Initiative which officially begins on July 15th, is not just for student participation. The idea is for all citizens and businesses to proactively support the Initiative and to help promote it internationally via email and social media – “We’ve created a sound structure through which UWI Alumni worldwide, the Caribbean diaspora and ultimately total strangers, can all come together and play their part in a global effort to save thousands of Caribbean UWI students from either being forced to drop out, or forced to endure major financial hardship that can negatively impact their ability to perform optimally in their studies“, said Robin Belle of Caribbean Interactive Media, one of the corporate facilitators responsible for the technology aspects of the Initiative.
Consumers don’t care to wait till they are back in the office or at home, to find out where is the nearest laundry or health food deli, so GPS Mobile Technology empowers the consumer and makes businesses more accessible”, according to Mr. Belle. 70% of the revenues generated from sales of the service by students, goes into a special Tuition Fund set up at Prudential Co-operative Credit Union Ltd., another corporate facilitator of the OTP Initiative. Mr. Oriel Doyle, Treasurer of PCCUL, stated that “In conjunction with the accounting firm Office Express Inc., we (PCCUL) are providing the financial fund facility and accounting transparency/oversight for the OTP Initiative, to ensure the local business community that when they purchase the mobile service to support the students, the students will receive the designated financial benefit as intended.”
An official website for the Initiative has been created, as well as a separate site where students will be able to access sales and marketing materials and obtain guidance on how to promote/market the service to business in and outside of Barbados. Legal counsel for the Initiative Attorney-At-Law Leslie Roberts, noted that – “We are inviting companies in Barbados to not just buy a subscription to assist a handful of students, but to come forward and exercise corporate social responsibility by sponsoring the initiative, so that it can be more effectively promoted locally and regionally, to reach the thousands of UWI students who need help.”
The organizers of the Initiative commend the commercial banks for offering loan facilities and the government for its offer of 3000 Bursaries, but believe that the community at large should play a part in averting the economic crisis faced by the students. They hold the view that the students too, should be empowered to help themselves in this situation and not rely totally on being “handed” the money through loans and bursaries; so the Initiative provides students with the opportunity and means to service any loans obtained, or to supplement what they obtain through bursaries.
“The Initiative also seeks to change the thinking of the students from seeing themselves as ‘Victims of Circumstance‘ and help them to realise that great adversity is typically great opportunity in disguise and as such, represents an excellent opportunity for them to grow as individuals and to achieve things which they never thought they could at this stage of their lives, to become ‘VICTORS of Circumstance‘ instead,” said Mr. Belle.
Having been divinely inspired, the Initiative is being executed as a “Faith Based” Initiative under the spiritual theme “BELIEVE“, whereby the students and wider community are encouraged to not rely solely on their own strength and striving, but to have genuine faith in and trust “the God of the Impossible” (Matthew 19:26) to empower them to overcome this adversity.
Nevertheless, the Initiative is open to any student regardless of religious persuasion and no student will be disadvantaged if they do not embrace the spiritual component of the Initiative.
Mr. Belle stated – “We urge you the students not to walk by sight, but by faith, for if you walk by sight, all you will see is that there are only approximately 52 days left for you to pay your tuition including a little grace period, a “seemingly” impossible task, so you may be discouraged. But remember that by the power and favour of Almighty God, Nehemiah and his supporters rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in just 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15), despite GREAT opposition. That same power and favour can also be brought to bear upon your endeavour to rebuild the economic wall of your Higher Education experience, if you work together selflessly as a team for the benefit of all. We therefore also call upon all churches and congregations of Barbados to intercede with prayer on behalf of the students and to wholeheartedly support this Initiative financially and otherwise; we urge you, to BELIEVE.”
UWI Students who wish to take advantage of the Initiative and the earning opportunity it offers, are asked to sign up on the Official Website at www.OTP-INITIATIVE.info. An orientation session for UWI students who register on the website to participate in the Initiative, will be held over the coming weekend.
The venue and time will be communicated by email to the students who register online. Companies which are willing to consider sponsoring the Initiative are asked to review the “Sponsors” section of the official website first, then get in touch with the organizers on 246-838-9661, 246-836-7235 or Admin@CIM-INC.com. The general public, UWI alumni, Caribbean diaspora and well-wishers worldwide, are also asked to sign up as supporters on the official website and to use the tools provided therein to help promote the Initiative.