Project Capability: Expanding the horizons of students with learning difficulties

Project Capability is the brainchild of Samantha-Kaye .D. Christie, a PhD student at Curtin University, Australia. The programme caters specifically to students’ with learning difficulties attending the Montego Bay Community College, a college which Samantha herself attended in her native island, Jamaica. Driven by her desire to see more opportunities and awareness being raised about people with learning difficulties, Samantha formulated the project in August, 2015 and launched it officially on Sunday, February 14 2016 via the online platform, indiegogo.

While garnering support for the initiative, Samantha stated, “Tertiary education in Jamaica is daunting for most people because of the high costs. However, for students’ with learning difficulties, this is further compounded by their grades and by extension, their opportunity to successfully qualify for financial assistance”. Having witnessed these challenges for her own brother with dyslexia, Samantha yearned to assist him and other students’ in a palpable way. While attending college and overseeing her brother’s educational advancement, she observed that, as above, opportunities, such as scholarships, grants and financial aid, were not only competitive but effectively eliminated students with learning difficulties because such students’ would not have attained the stipulated academic grades.

Project Capability is thus undergirded by the motto, Projecting Capability, NOT disability. The project is in its inaugural year and aims to raise a total of US$2000 to fund tertiary level studies for a student with learning difficulties, at The Montego Bay Community College in Jamaica. This will facilitate enrolment in various degrees at the College, which requires the student to have funds between USD $1000 – $2000 in order to successfully complete one year of training. If the project raises more money than required per year, the additional funds will roll over and contribute to tuition payments for the remaining years. The initiative will raise funds principally through its online funding page , while using YouTube, Facebook and traditional media as engagement platforms. A total of $USD200 has already been collected through a tin collection drive. The online campaign aims to raise the remainder of that target (i.e. US$1800).

This opportunity will enable students’ to expand their academic and social horizons and will have long lasting developmental impacts. It is expected that Project Capability will recruit the help of inspired persons who are enthused and ready to make a difference. “The inability to meet educational costs and learning difficulties is a principal deterrent for persons with learning difficulties to enroll in tertiary education, in Jamaica and the world over. Therefore, the overall goal of Project Capability is to leave an indelible mark upon the wider society. Its outcome will fill a gap in terms of the need to provide financial support for college level students’ with a learning difficulty”, Samantha highlighted.

In a society where financing is an incredibly scarce commodity, Project Capability is an innovative way to command well-needed resources in service to humanity. “With steady determination and most importantly, public donations, Project Capability will complete that which it has set forth to do, which is to create a more inclusive society. After all, generosity is not giving for the purpose of recognition, but it is giving because someone needs more than you do”, Samantha affirmed. To learn more about Project Capability and how to contribute, visit the funding page.

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Staff Writer