It's the first day of school today and once again Princes Town mother Nadia Singh will be heading out to neighbouring schools trying to find a transfer for her teenage son.
The 13-year-old, of Princes Town, feels he is losing his chance at having a successful life because his mother cannot afford to send him to the school he passed for after setting the Secondary Assessment Entrance Examination earlier this year.
The school is about 30 miles away and it will cost Singh $50 a day in transportation alone, a cost she cannot bear because she has her three other children to send to school as well.
The family has seen tough times and tragedy in less than five years, including the loss of the family head and their home, which caved into a precipice five years ago.
They were first forced to move into a one-room plywood house opposite their collapsed house. Then the children lost their father Kimchan Singh on January 29, 2016, after he drowned at the Moruga Beach.
When his siblings, aged eight, 10 and 15, began preparations for school yesterday, their brother was broken-hearted and in tears.
His mother told the T&T Guardian, "He longs to go to school. I don't want him to stay home and get wayward. That is what happens when students stay home or feel as if they were cheated of their education. He is a bright boy and willing to go to school."
Singh called on the Education Minister Anthony Garcia and Dr Lovell Francis, the Minister in the Ministry, to intervene and find a space for her son at either of the secondary schools in Barrackpore.
Since the story was published on the T&T Guardian’s Facebook page, several Good Samaritans have offered to purchase his school books and uniform. The story was shared 117 times on Facebook and evoked support. Royette Williams James wrote, "I am willing to buy his uniform."
Attorney Wayne Sturge wrote, "Send me his booklist."
Brian Del Hussain meanwhile reminisced about his struggles as a student.
Singh said she was grateful for the offers of assistance and now hopes that her dream for a transfer for her son will come also materialise.
Since August, Naparima MP Rodney Charles had written to Garcia asking him to intervene on Singh's behalf.
Anyone wanting to assist the family can contact Nadia at 329 5265.
Editor’s note: The identity of Singh’s teenage son is being withheld so as to ensure he will not become a possible victim of bullying or discrimination when he goes out to his new school due to his family’s status.
- by Radhica De Silva