September 13, 2017: ‘This is a landmark event for the community of Rio Claro. It represents an incredible start or restart for the school, for this community’ said Minister Rambharat as the Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre was launched. In his Address at the Launch of the Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre on Wednesday 13th September, 2017, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries outlined the historical background of the Project which brought us to this day for the Launch. He shared with the audience that Minister Maxie Cuffie, Minister of Public Administration and Communications, born in Rio Claro, played a very important role in this process; also hailing the contribution of former Government Minister Harry Partap and his involvement in the embryonic stages of the project. Moreso, ‘Digicel Foundation you continue to do excellent work across the country and I look forward to more partnerships with you’ were his words to Ms. Gomez and her team.
Ms. Penny Gomez, CEO of Digicel Foundation – ‘the corporate champion for persons with special needs’ - referred to the relationship with the Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre as a ‘love affair’, and urged persons to ‘take your work outside the walls of your office, go into the communities, meet in public spaces and engage rural groups. We have found that this model has never missed a beat when it comes to uncovering rear gems, gems like Rio Claro, Mrs. Pascall and her deserving students’. Three of Digicel Foundation’s key Programmes operate out of this Centre, including Therapy-based Education Programme, Aquaponics Programme and Preparing You Programme.
‘They are gifted and very very special … just sometimes they are not understood’ said Ms. Phillis Griffith, President of the Private Special Schools Association of Trinidad and Tobago (PSSATT).
Mr. Keith Rodriguez, Board President of the Centre and Mrs. Kelly Ann Langdon-Pascall, Founder and Principal both provided an overview of the Digicel Foundation-sponsored Project.
Attending the Launch were Mr. Rushton Paray, Member of Parliament for Mayaro; Mr. Glen Ram, Chairman, Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation.