With Guyana already having a total of 127 positive cases of the novel Corona (COVID-19), an overseas-based non-governmental organization (NGO), the Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Foundation has embarked on distributing 1,000 food hampers to the less fortunate.
As this pandemic continues to impact the world, the organization in a collaborative effort with Zara Reality from New York, USA tasked themselves to embark on the distribution drive due to the fact that the pandemic has paused several operations in Guyana, including their free computer courses being offered in Georgetown, Berbice and on the Essequibo Coast.
The Foundation began its relief efforts in April by installing 23 sinks in high-traffic areas on the Essequibo Coast, including four at the Suddie Hospital.
After the installation, and having seen the effects of the virus, the Foundation saw the need for the distribution of hampers to those in need.
Founder, Jay Sobhraj, believes it is his civic duty to continue their humanitarian work for Guyanese during this pandemic and applauded the essential workers for their courageous act in fighting the virus.
Executive member of the Foundation, Nardeo Singh, believes during this time, persons should be their brother’s keeper and hopes more organizations would come forward to assist in this time of need. Singh, stressed the importance of social distancing and highlighted the fact that the virus has impacted persons, mentally, physically, and financially.
Thus far, hampers were distributed to the several communities and organizations including the front line workers of the Georgetown Public Health Corporation’s (GPHC) COVID 19 Unit, The Guyana Nurses Association, Guyana Police Force; ‘G’ Division, Dharm Shala, ISKCON of Guyana Hare Krishna Study Centre, the Chateau Margot Maha Vishnu Mandir, Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), St Ann’s Orphanage, Bless the Children Home, Shaheed’s Boys Orphanage, St John Bosco Boys Orphanage, residents of the Lodge Community, villages on the East Coast of Demerara, West Bank of Demerara, West Coast Berbice and on the Essequibo Coast.
Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Johnson, expressed profound gratitude for the timely contribution. She said the nurses will continue to uphold the standard of health care in Guyana and will work towards fighting the COVID-19 virus.
Assistant Administrator of the St John Bosco Boys Orphanage, Keisel Joseph, expressed gratitude to the Foundation for the hampers and said that while donations have slowed up, the boys and management are managing during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, as the capital City and other outlying areas are being affected by the virus, hampers were also distributed to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affair in collaboration with Iwokrama and the ‘Vist Rupununi’ Organisation with the intent of assisting the vulnerable and needy in the interior locations.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock said he was heartened at the gesture. He alluded the pandemic has severely impacted the world. Still, the donation fosters a sense of togetherness towards Guyanese and to a greater extent for the Indigenous people.
The Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Foundation, formerly known as the Zara Donor Group, was established to provide free, quality education to those most in need.
To date, the Foundation has partnered with both government and non-governmental organizations to develop and maintain computer centers, across the country and in the USA.
The last major project was completed in 2019, to establish the Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Research at the University of Guyana.