Chairman of the TT Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Newman George donated his $10,000 monthly stipend to Makeisha Simon, a 21-year-old aspiring doctor, who has been selling nuts to gather funds to pay for tuition and accommodation at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The donation will ensure the would-be doctor can pay for accommodation and compulsory fees for at least one semester.
Speaking to Newsday at the HDC office in South Quay, George said he saw a Newsday report on the young woman’s plight, and felt it was his calling to assist her. He said he thought her efforts to gather funds for her tuition was admirable.
“I have been to university and I have three daughters who have been through university and I know the cost of education. That is what motivated me,” George said.
“We have to motivate young people. When we don’t help them or open a door for them you don’t know which door they would end up going through.”
Simon expressed gratitude for the donation, and said it made her comfortable knowing that she would be able to start her journey to become a doctor.
She said she still needed to raise funds for food, clothes and books, so she will continue selling to make ends meet while she studies.
“Up to yesterday we were still selling at the hospital. We are not going to stop. This is the first time someone made good on their promise to help and we cannot depend on people, so we will continue selling,” Simon said.
Last November, Simon was accepted to UWI to study for a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree, but she had no money.
The determined young woman decided to sell nuts and channa at $3 and $4 each to gather money for the semester which amounts to around $10,000. Simon told Newsday that while she would sell at that price, she would still have to buy the nuts at $2, meaning she would only make a dollar profit to contribute to her dream.
“I am really grateful,” she said “I would have had to sell a lot of nuts to get money together for this semester.”