In Damascus UN aid chief outlines measures to improve response to Syrian

“I have this week seen first hand the colossal toll that the brutal and sustained hostilities have taken,” said Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a statement to the media on the third day of his visit to Syria.Describing the dire situation, he said estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, countless more are missing or detained, and five million have fled to other countries. Gross domestic product (GDP) is less than half what it was before the war, and replacing destroyed infrastructure and housing will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. “Almost 70 per cent of people now live in extreme poverty,” said Mr. Lowcock.Against this background, he paid tribute to the thousands of aid workers that have worked to implement assistance programmes, explaining: “Most of them are Syrians and many are volunteers, working for the organizations of the UN, the Red Cross, [non-gorvnermental organizations] and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.” While in Syria, Mr. Lowcock, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said he has had open discussions with the Government about the crisis and what more needs to be done to reduce humanitarian suffering, and has also met local authorities, the diplomatic community and humanitarian organizations.The UN relief wing has more on the Syria crisis hereHe said he is hoping soon to see “a number of positive developments” that enable the UN to sustain and improve the aid effort this year.Such developments would include finalization of the UN’s humanitarian response plan for 2018, which seeks $3.5 billion from donors to meet the needs of more than 13 million people in all parts of Syria, as well as agreement to medical evacuation for hundreds of critically ill people trapped in besieged Eastern Ghouta.The UN’s humanitarian response plan for Syria, which targets some 13 million people and is one of the world’s largest sustained emergency aid efforts, totalled $1.7 billion in 2017.Also, agreement to three or four UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoys each week across front lines would provide assistance to up to 2.5 million people in besieged and hard to reach areas. Further, the aid effort could be improved through agreement on UN-supported convoys from Damascus to Rukban in south-eastern Syria, and more effective arrangements to enable the UN to support the work of Syrian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and to enable international NGOs to play a stronger role in relieving the suffering.Mr. Lowcock said he also discussed with the Government and others a number of other issues, including the review of the cross-border aid programmes from neighbouring countries into Syria which was commissioned last month by the Security Council.“My mandate is to ensure humanitarian assistance and protection for everyone who needs it, in accordance with the long-established principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality which have been endorsed by all the Member States of the UN,” he said. read more

Bursaries awarded to employees children of Sterling Products Ltd

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSterling Products rewards successful NGSA studentsJuly 29, 2019In “latest news”CEO to NGSA students: No time to rest or ‘poverty will come upon you like a bandit’July 27, 2017In “latest news”SPL awards children for sterling performance at NGSAJuly 5, 2014In “Business” Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Products Ltd, Ramsay Ali (fourth from left) poses with the recipients of bursary awards. Also in photo are other members of management of Sterling Products Ltd, Assistant Chief Education Officer, Samantha Williams (second from right) and CCWU Representative, Sherwood Clarke (second from right, back row).The morning of Thursday August 2, 2018 was overcast, but it was a particularly bright day for several Sterling Products Ltd employees whose children got generous bursaries from the company to lessen their parents’ back-to-school expenses in the new school year.At the brief presentation ceremony at the company’s headquarters, Human Resources Officer, Ms Yvette Fiedtkou underscored Sterling Products’ firm commitment to the bursary award programme. She noted that this year’s bursary—a one-off disbursement of $65,000— was for employees’ children who will be starting their secondary education in September.The seven students who got bursary awards were: Angela Persaud; Alika Shaw; Tarun; Saktua, Akeelah Persaud; Emika Thomas; Samir Ishmael; Romel Persaud and Daniele Shaw.Ms Fiedtkou explained that these seven students qualified for the bursary award by attaining at least 75 per cent of the total marks obtainable at the 2018 Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE).For more than 25 years, Sterling Products Ltd has been contributing to the education of employees’ children through annual bursary awards.At the presentation ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Products Ltd, Ramsay Ali remarked that the children are embarking on a new chapter in their education, one that is vastly different from primary school.“We are happy that we can afford to do this and assist you a little bit as you get into a new area of your life…” Ali said, emphasizing that the disbursements are strictly to offset the children’s education expenses and give them a smooth start as they enter secondary school.Ali also encouraged the parents to let management know, from time to time, how the children are performing in school.Assistant Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, Ms Samantha Williams said her Ministry salutes valuable assistance of this nature and hopes other companies can contribute in similar ways to raising the standards of education and preparing students to succeed in academic life.“Today is an opportunity that this corporate organization has seized to demonstrate its social responsibility by giving back to its workers and, by extension, the citizens of this country,” Ms Williams said.She added that when parents, the school and community work together, the outcome can be satisfying to all.However, she cautioned parents of the bursary recipients that their roles and responsibilities have not ended and, in fact, they will become even more difficult as their children move up to the next level on the ladder of education.“We implore you to continue to give them the support that they need and to show that interest you have been showing in ensuring that your children are acquiring the skills that will help them to develop as good citizens of our country,” she said.Ms Williams urged parents to continue cultivating the habit of learning in their respective homes and not to allow the television and other gadgets to usurp their roles in their children’s upbringing.“Ensure that as a parent, you create a balance within your home and you are also monitoring the programmes they view on television and the games they play on the various gadgets,” she said.She also gave the children words of advice and encouragement for their secondary school lives. She urged them to dream big, be determined, set goals, stay focused and not allow friends to veer them away from their objectives.Being passionate about learning makes schoolwork easier and it is also important to balance work with wholesome extracurricular activities, she advised.Speaking on behalf of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), which represents the company’s workers, Representative, Sherwood Clarke explained that trade unionism is not only about fighting for workers’ rights and good working conditions, but also for enhancing workers’ education.He commended Ali and Sterling Products Ltd. for agreeing to increase the disbursement and also praised the company’s adult literacy programme in place for some employees. read more