In an effort to further boost the educational needs of students in Zota District, Bong County, citizens from the district residing in the United States, under the banner, “Kponyekpoyah Development Organization (KDO),” recently donated 24 cartons of textbooks to two schools in the district.The consignment included English, Mathematics, General Science, and Geography books, and different types of dictionaries.The presentation was made to the Belefanai Peace Lutheran Mission and the Gorpudolo Boi schools in Belefanai Town by Livingstone Johnny Gbellai, who served as proxy for KDO president, Harry J. Diggs.Mr. Gbellai told the gathering that the books were sent to Liberia by KDO to buttress efforts the Liberian government has instituted to revamp the country’s education system. He said the books were sent to assist schools in that part of the country to build the students’ respective reading skills.He said the main focus of the group was to assist school-aged children in Liberia to improve in their quest to attain quality education. Mr. Gbellai acknowledged challenges in the education sector, but said as a result, members of KDO were very grateful to the government for its initiative to transform the sector.He then commended the schools’ administrators and parents in the district for the level of support through which the schools have been maintained over the years. He urged the parents to attach seriousness to their children’s education by assisting the teachers in preparing them for the larger society. Receiving the donated items, the administrators of the two schools, Johnson Flomo of Gorpudolo Boi and Reverend Emmanuel Todd of Belefanai Peace Lutheran Mission, commended the organization for the items and promised to use the textbooks for the intended purpose. The two encouraged KDO officials in the US to continue assisting schools in rural Liberia for the growth and development of the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Festival of Lights, Diwali, was on Sunday night kick-started at Rahaman’s Park, Greater Georgetown with the annual lighting of the National Diya.The lighting up of the 21-foot Diya is a spectacle being hosted for the fourth consecutive year by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-Hindus for Selfless Service (HSS).Themed “Atma Deepo Bhava” (you become the light), this auspicious event aims to represent the Hindu community’s continuous message of oneness and national unity.Showcasing white and purple lights, the structure comprises five smaller diyas to signify five days of Diwali celebrations as is customary in India where the celebration originated.The red, black, gold, white and green of the five diyas represent the colours of Guyana’s flag and like they do on the flag represent – endurance, zeal, wealth, the many waters of our beautiful country, and agriculture.The concept behind the Diya’s design is oil being poured into the Diya by the calasha as is the custom on Diwali night.In attendance at the event were heads of leading Hindu and other religious organisations; the Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam; Indian rights activist and former ROAR parliamentarian Ravi Dev; Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, young leaders and the general public.High Commissioner Mahalingam reflected on the celebration in his homeland and gave a little insight on how Diwali was celebrated there.The Commissioner thanked HSS for not allowing the celebration to be forgotten and further wished the Guyanese community a happy Diwali.Delivering remarks on behalf of HSS, Karamchand Seenanan, a senior member, applauded the event, but in the same breath called for it to be larger in years to come.“I’m calling on all of you to be the light of good intentions and selfless service; we did achieve our purpose, but we want it to continue to grow in years to come,” Seenanan said in his brief remarks.Guest speaker at the event, Dhanrajie Haimraj of HSS, who was recently awarded a Medal of Service for her voluntary work in Guyana, asked for the concept of purity to be observed.“Purity that we talk about is referring to cleansing the outsides as well as the insides…we pray to God as creator of this universe to take away the greed and to replace it with everything that is auspicious in us as humans,” Haimraj said.She encouraged getting rid of all impure practices and cautioned against corruption in Guyana.“If we should do this daily, then Diwali will become a daily festival for us … we have weaknesses as human beings that will lead us to corrupt our values, but let Diwali remind all of us to let virtues triumph in all of us … you and I,” Haimraj added.The festival ‘Diwali’ in Sanskrit has a literal meaning of ‘a row of lamps’. This festival usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November, although this is decided upon by the Hindu lunar calendar.The most popular tradition of celebrating Diwali is filling little clay lamps (diyas) with oil and wick and lighting them in rows all over the house; this reflects the rich and glorious past of culture and teaching to uphold the true values of life.Lights and diyas are lit to signify the driving away of darkness and ignorance, as well as the awakening of the light within one’s self. Diwali is viewed as a time for family gatherings and food as well as a celebration that reminds us of our original virtues; the light of which brings joy and hope.Diwali celebrates victory over evil or darkness and the coming of a new year. The light refers to following a path of virtue such that our thoughts are always pure in heart, and the darkness refers to negative thoughts which bring about hurts and sorrow.Additionally, apart from the spectacular display of the National Diya Light-up, there was a cultural evening of dances, skits and music to portray the significance of the national holiday.