Peace And Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS)
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
PALAS hopes to help 100 students this year
|Students at the 2013-2014 PALAS awards ceremony at the UWI, Mona campus|
THE demand for help usually surpasses what they are able to give each year, but Peace and Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS) Inc hopes to help 100 students get closer to academic success this year by offering them financial assistance.
Since being launched in 2010, the international organisation has provided 115 scholarships and 12 computers valued at over US$50,000 to needy high school and tertiary level students in Jamaica. The scholarship was launched in honour and memory of Jamaican student Vanessa Campbell, an aspiring artiste who was found with her throat slashed behind the Greater Portmore Post Office in St Catherine a few years ago.
Founder and Executive Director Rula Brown said 60 new scholarships were awarded last year to 16 high school and 44 university students. The selection committee had chosen these students from 87 females, and 41 males between the ages of 12 to 32.
In order to qualify for the scholarships, students need to write a 300 to 500 word essay to say why they should be selected, must maintain at least a B average or 75 per cent grade, and should "be positively active in their communities such as school, church, hospitals, youth services and Rotary clubs or volunteering".
In light of the growing requests for financial assistance, Brown said those who make a minimum donation of US$350 will be able to have a scholarship awarded in their name, family or business. Donations can be made online prior to July 30 at www.PALAS1.org.
"The response to having a scholarship in someone's name, their loved one or company has been tremendous. For example in 2013, of the 60 scholarships awarded, 42 were by partnering with others. The individuals are very excited to know that they are helping their fellow countrymen in this endeavour," Brown said.
Sponsors are also given a certificate from PALAS with the picture and credentials of each student that they sponsor. Brown said that so far in 2014, 30 persons have come on board to partner with the organisation.
Brown said he has been very active trying to help raise funds for cancer patient Kirby Campbell who is currently a student at UWI, as well as once homeless medical student Yemalla Edwards. He said he recently sent a donation to Campbell's mom to assist with her expenses, while Edwards, who is one of 18 medical students helped by PALAS over the last three years, is being helped on a continuous basis.
"I was able to raise $125,000 for him, get a computer, a cellphone and got some place for him to live near UWI at no cost. I send $5,500 to help with water and light and he has been doing very well in school," Brown said.
— Nadine Wilson
From Jamaica Observer.
The Mahogany Coconut Group is a proud supporter of PALAS.