Canefarmers graduate in computer studies
By Cecily Asson Sunday, May 19 2013
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Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim presents a certificate of participation to Roslyn Indarsingh, one of the graduates of ...
Seunarine Rampersad, 61, and Roslyn Indarsingh, 52, were just two out of 131 cane farmers who yesterday proudly walked to the rostrum to receive their National Energy Skill Centre (NESC) graduation certificate in basic computer studies.
The graduation ceremony hosted by YTEPP at the Rochard Douglas Presbyterian Primary School, Barrackpore for participants of the Mobile Computer Training Unit in Barrackpore yesterday, marked a red letter day for cane farmers and their descendants.
Many of them were out of jobs and had to be re-trained with the closure of Caroni 1975 Ltd a decade ago. On the insistence of President of the Cane Farmers Association Seukeran Tambie the mobile unit rolled into Barrackpore and encouraged those affected to learn the computer.
Speaking to Sunday Newsday after the event, Rampersad ,who said he only had a primary school education, admitted that learning the computer was a challenge.
“I didn’t know what to expect, Rampersad said.
“With the education I had and to go on a computer for me it was like ‘wow’ — but I came and I looked at it, I have my brain and my knowledge and eventually it was successful — thanks to the teacher,” he said.
Rampersad was one of many farmers who were thrown on the breadline when the sugar industry closed down.
For decades, as did his grandparents, he cultivated sugar cane on 10 acres of land.
Since learning the basics of the computer, a smiling Rampersad said he can now sit with his eight-year-old son Prem and do many things.
“I am happy for the opportunity and looking forward to more,” he said.
Indarsingh, a housewife and mother of three, said she watched her uncle Lalo Mahadeo, 81, suffer and die after the industry closed down.
“He took it on badly and died about one year ago. When it closed, he stopped talking, there was no income. Although he was a shopkeeper, he still used to plant cane and used to look forward to his back pay yearly.”
Indarsingh decided to seize the opportunity to enrol in the computer course for her ancestors who “toiled for years in the canefield.”