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  • 4 Feb 2021 4:31 PM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    National expansion is on the horizon for the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals (HFYP). Following its highly successful membership campaign in Tobago on January 9, the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals’ national expansion agenda continued with the launch of its Central Chapter in Couva, Trinidad this past Monday.

    The Honourable Mr. Faris Al Rawi, Attorney General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, applauded the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals’ on its national expansion plans and the launch of its Central Chapter. As the evening’s keynote speaker, the Attorney General reminded the Foundation that its “relevance is in the independence of its voice”.


    HFYP Central Leadership Committee (L-R): Mr. Rahul Rampersad, Vice Chairman, Ms. Victoria Rattansingh, Chairman, Mr. Farai Masaisai, President of the Heliconia Foundation, Ms. Sharda Satram, Operations Officer, Honourable Mr. Faris Al Rawi, Attorney General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Maria Sawh, Secretary, Ms. Vithra Seereeram, Treasurer

    The Heliconia Foundation’s adept and diversely talented Central Leadership Committee led by Ms. Victoria Rattansingh, were presented with their instruments of appointment by Mr. Farai Hove Masaisai, President of the Heliconia Foundation and Attorney at Law. Mr. Masaisai encouraged the new appointees to serve selflessly and to lend their voices to the national discourse. Mr. Masaisai intends in his term for the Foundation to cement itself as a national movement and so cited that the launch of a South Chapter, East Chapter and North Chapter would soon follow.


    (L-R): HFYP VP Membership-Dr. Annalese Percy; VP Communications & Public Relations-Ms. Tenielle Tobias-Solomon; VP Legal-Mr. St. Clair O'Neil; Chairman Central Leadership Committee-Ms. Victoria Rattansingh; President-Mr. Farai Hove Masaisai; Attorney General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago-The Honourable Mr. Faris Al Rawi; VP Finance-Mr. Osei Benn; VP Marketing and Branding-Ms. Jenine Benjamin and VP Projects and Events-Mr. Johnson Smith.

    In her maiden contribution, the newly minted Chairman of the Central Leadership Committee, Ms. Victoria Rattansingh said she was proud to lead the Heliconia Foundation’s Central Chapter and believed that the Heliconia Foundation will be the “vehicle that will transform, transfigure, and translate Central, Trinidad.”

    Ms. Victoria Rattansingh, entrepreneur, and Master of Science candidate at the University of the West Indies is joined on the Foundation’s Central Leadership Committee by:

    • Mr. Rahul Rampersad, Vice Chairman
    • Ms. Maria Sawh, Secretary
    • Ms. Vithra Seereeram, Treasurer
    • Ms. Sharda Satram, Operations Officer


  • 11 Jan 2021 9:58 AM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    Heliconia Stands With Tobago

    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals (HFYP) started its year of philanthropy over this past weekend in the sister isle of Tobago as part of its strategic agenda to empower communities nationally through social outreach and volunteerism. 

    Heliconia Leads with Virtual Pro-Bono Legal Clinics

    On January 9, the Heliconia Foundation mobilized its professional network of expert attorney volunteers for the introduction of its flagship HFYP Pro-Bono Legal Clinic Series to the sister isle. Although, the Pro-Bono Legal Clinics are not new to the Foundation, it is the first time that the Foundation has provided citizens with virtual access to a powerful line-up of attorneys from the safety and comfort of their homes-this is a progressive step which has received glowing commendations from both attorney and citizen participants. As an inclusive organization though, and in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the THA’s Division of Health and Social Services; the Foundation still also received some interested persons who may have otherwise been unable to access the Foundation’s virtual facilities at the Canaan/ Bon- Accord Multi-Purpose Facility at Centre Street, Tobago.

    Heliconia Helps 40 Families and 20 Students

    Concurrently, the Heliconia Foundation gifted forty (40) families impacted by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a month’s supply of groceries while also donating twenty (20) Amazon Fire HD tablets to help deserving students in need with their remote learning activities following the launch of the new school term on January 4.

    The Heliconia Foundation stands with Tobago and aspires to continue this impactful work in the sister isle through its progressive and talented Tobago Council led by Mr. Shomari Hector, Chairman of the HFYP Tobago Council and waits with great anticipation for the manifestation of the Council’s strategic initiatives for 2021 and beyond.


    Ms. Vanessa Boyce- HFYP Policy Officer, Tobago Affairs manages the virtual rooms for the HFYP Pro-Bono Legal Clinic 


    Mrs. Melanie Roberts-Radgman, HFYP Legal Officer- Tobago Affairs offers legal counsel to a member of the community

    A cross-section of the HFYP Hampers and Amazon Fire Tablets distributed to deserving Tobagonian families and students in need 

    Ms. Melissa James-Guy , PNM Candidate for Plymouth /Golden Lane receives hampers and tablets on behalf of her community from HFYP Tobago Council Chairman, Mr. Shomari Ajani Hector

  • 7 Jan 2021 10:01 AM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    If the will of the people is the will of God, the events that unfolded at Capitol Hill in Washington, USA yesterday were blasphemous. Yesterday, was an injurious assault on the will of more than 81 million American people who cast their votes for Biden-Harris legitimately defeating the Trump administration. Yesterday, was an unprecedented attack on the democracy of the United States of America. Yesterday, was the dangerous consequence of leadership left unchecked. Yesterday, must never be forgotten.

    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals (HFYP) lends its voice to the global discourse in expressing its great sadness at what must be described as a dark day of infamy in the world’s history. Yet, even amidst the despair, as a national organization, the Foundation believes that there are valuable lessons for our nation of Trinidad and Tobago which must be tabled at this time - now more than ever, we must rally together as a people despite our political allegiances to boldly guard our institutions of democracy without fear or favour, malice or ill-will; we must hold our leaders accountable and to a higher standard of responsibility and above all else, we must never allow the politics of the day to corrupt the sacredness of our nation’s democracy for to do so is to sacrilegiously stain the virtue of our liberty and sovereignty

  • 31 Dec 2020 10:02 AM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals (HFYP) has joined the global movement to end period poverty with its Gifts of Dignity- Feminine Hygiene initiative which involves giving women and girls access to feminine hygiene products such as sanitary pads, liners and tampons through philanthropic mobilization.

    Period Poverty is “a global issue affecting women and girls who don’t have access to safe, hygienic sanitary products, and/or who are unable to manage their periods with dignity- in some cases, women and girls have limited access, leading to prolonged use of the same tampons or pads, which can cause infection.” (Action Aid 2020).

    Globally, “about one in four people between 13 to 35 have reported that they have found it harder to manage their periods since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey done by WASH United, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), and UNICEF. According to this same survey, 47% of people who menstruate have found it more difficult to access menstrual supplies since the pandemic, says Ina Jurga, international coordinator for the Global Menstrual Hygiene Day.” (Alicia Napierkowski, 2020)

    The Heliconia Foundation believes that we have a civic responsibility to ensure that our women and girls are protected from period poverty especially during a pandemic which on its own merit has contributed to grave economic hardship and has worsened the livelihood of many families and communities.

    As a socially responsible and philanthropic organization, during the pandemic, the HFYP has contributed over 2500 feminine hygiene products to women and girls in communities across Trinidad and Tobago with the kind support of its members and corporate sponsors. More recently, in the month of December, the Foundation through the leadership of Ms. Marianne Fraser of its Women’s Arm and in collaboration with Mr. Hillan Morean, Deputy Mayor of Port of Spain, extended its Gifts of Dignity- Feminine Hygiene outreach to the St. Jude’s Home for Girls and the Bethlehem Girls R.C. The Foundation’s efforts were well-received by the St. Jude’s Home and the Bethlehem Girls R.C who commended the Foundation for its Gifts of Dignity and encouraged the continuation of its work in this area which was too often overlooked.

    The Heliconia Foundation echoes the views of former UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Sanjay Wijesekera that “meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health” and anticipates that this initiative will become one of the cornerstones of its philanthropy efforts alongside its pro-bono Medical and Legal Outreach Clinics. The HFYP endeavours to partner with other socially conscious and responsible persons and entities to expand the impact of its work in this area in 2021 and beyond. Interested parties are invited to email them at heliconiafoundation@gmail.com.

  • 20 Feb 2018 11:50 AM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    The Heliconia Foundation hosted a seminar on Human Trafficking at City Hall POS on 20th February 2018. 
    The event was well attended and participants were informed of recent efforts made in T&T to deal with Human Trafficking as well as individual efforts they may make in their individual lives to reduce the risk.


  • 10 Dec 2017 11:48 AM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)


    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals hosted its fourth Annual Christmas Charity Cocktail, “Mistletoe, Martinis and Charity”, on December 11 at the VAS Lounge, Port of Spain.

    This charity event was geared towards generating funds for the foundation's Scholarship Trust Fund, which was established by trust deed and registered on January 28, 2015. 

    The fund is dedicated to supporting and promoting the achievement of academic excellence by young people from vulnerable homes and communities and is funded by the efforts of the trustees, non-profit organisations, the Heliconia Foundation and the trust's supporters who share this mission.


  • 15 Jul 2017 5:59 PM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    Heliconia Foundation FYP in conjunction with the Member of Parliament for Pt. Fortin Edmund Dillon held a pro bono legal clinic on 15th July 2017 in the constituency of Point Fortin. Some of the Foundation's lawyers provided free legal advice to constituents. The event was well attended and all participants were pleased.

    Heliconia Foundation is a think-tank of young professionals whose vision is to establish a strong network of young progressive thinkers committed to the advancement of Trinidad and Tobago. Keep checking our events page for future legal clinics.



  • 15 Jun 2017 5:56 PM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals hosted its third Annual Christmas Charity Cocktail, “Mistletoe, Martinis and Charity”, on December 11 at the VAS Lounge, Port of Spain.

    This charity event was geared towards generating funds for the foundation's Scholarship Trust Fund, which was established by trust deed and registered on January 28, 2015. The fund is dedicated to supporting and promoting the achievement of academic excellence by young people from vulnerable homes and communities and is funded by the efforts of the trustees, non-profit organisations, the Heliconia Foundation and the trust's supporters who share this mission.

    The Scholarship Board trustees are: Senator Michael Coppin (president), Vyash Nandlal (VP, Finance), Avinash Singh (parliamentary secretary) and Maritza Da Silva (Heliconia member).

    The event was well-attended by members, affiliates and well-wishers of the foundation, sponsors and representatives of the People's National Movement (PNM), which included Fitzgerald Hinds, Member of Parliament for Laventille West and Minister of Public Utilities; PNM general secretary Ashton Ford, and PNM welfare officer Jocelyn Bodden. Also in attendance was Jude James, the 2015 scholarship winner and recipient of a $20,000 bursary. This high-energy event featured excellent live entertainment by soca artiste Orlando Octave, La Nueva Parang Band, Vizion and singer Chinnaka Wheeler.

    The foundation, through the Scholarship Trust, awarded four young nationals bursaries of $5,000 each towards their tertiary education. The 2016 Scholarship awardees are: Josel Hamilton (Moruga), pursuing a BSc in Sociology and Literature, Jabari Sylvester (Diego Martin), pursuing a BSc in Environmental Science and Psychology, Mickiel Gabriel (Laventille), music director, and Latanya Potts (Maloney Gardens), who is pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery.

    The foundation expressed thanks to its events sponsors which included Stechers Ltd, Carib Brewery, Vesuvius, RIK Bookstores and Amera Marketing and Distribution Ltd

    Express

  • 6 Aug 2016 5:55 PM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    THE Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals has hailed moves to reform the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) programme.

    The Foundation is of the view that this reform should be the “first step in a radical, wide-ranging and holistic rethinking of the Trinidad and Tobago welfare state and particularly the role and function of the Government in the economy, the level of Government spending appropriate for a proper functioning modern economy and ensuring a more equitable and efficient allocation of public assistance and social programmes”.

    In a statement signed by its president W Michael Coppin, the Foundation said it believes the reforms in GATE are consistent with sound modern macroeconomic principles as the Government must assess the rate of return on its investment in education.

    This can only be done by looking at key performance indicators such as how much it has spent, whether there has been economic growth as a consequence of its investment, whether the amount of taxes raised has increased because of its expenditure and whether we now have a more innovative and productive society.

    “The Foundation believes that while there have been successes in radically improving the university participation rate, an honest reflection would reveal that GATE has not met the high economic expectations intended and the time was right for a return to the drawing board.”

    GATE reform

     

    The Foundation said its position comes after it held a conference with a number of student guilds and conducted a poll on GATE between the July 29 and August 4.

    “We note that the poll revealed that of the 371 respondents 91 per cent were of the view that GATE needed to be reformed.

    “Notably, the poll showed that 57 per cent of respondents believed that students should be personally responsible for paying a percentage of the costs of their undergraduate education while 85 per cent of respondents believed that students should pay a percentage of their post graduate education costs.

    “Ninety-three per cent of respondents were of the view that there was wastage in GATE with 54 per cent of all respondents of the view that there was ‘a lot of wastage', 25 per cent moderate wastage and 14 per cent a little wastage.”

    It said 95 per cent of all respondents disapproved of the Government continuing to fund students who continually fail courses while 55 per cent believed that the Government should not fund a student for more than one programme.

    “The Foundation is in support of the introduction of a means test as we believe State support should be granted to those in need and not as a right to all regardless of income.

    “Notably, 66 per cent of those persons who responded believed that a means test was necessary.

    “Interestingly, only 37 per cent of respondents believed that the Government should only fund programmes in line with the country's development needs, 91 per cent were in support of the Government providing tax breaks to parents who fund their children's education, 40 per cent were in support of the State guaranteeing loans instead of paying for tertiary education, 61 per cent believed that the Government should guarantee employment to recipients of GATE and respondents were evenly split as to whether there were enough people in Trinidad and Tobago attending university.”

    The Heliconia Foundation said it believes more should be done by local academia to collect and analyse empirical evidence from the population and for them to assist with advancing the discourse on funding tertiary education.

    Express


  • 3 Jul 2016 5:52 PM | Osei Roach Benn (Administrator)

    The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals has expressed its deepest condolences on the passing of former prime minister Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning.
    In a press release sent by the Foundation, it was noted that “history will record that this was no ordinary man”.

    “The Foundation will remember Mr Manning as a gentleman of the highest esteem who was a fighter for his people. We shall remember him as a man who walked amongst kings but never lost the common touch. We shall remember him as a man of vision the world over but the true embodiment of Stalin’s ‘Caribbean Man’.

    “Mr Manning was a man steeped in the deepest principles and traditions of the People’s National Movement—honesty, economic and political self-determination and unwavering love for country—traditions and principles upon which the Foundation relies and bases its existence,” the release added.

    And the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT) also sent condolences to Manning’s wife, Hazel Manning, as well as the family, friends and colleagues of the former PM, who died on Saturday at the age of 69.
    “Today we honour his memory. May he rest in peace...Rest in peace, Prime Minister, we thank you for your dedicated service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” PLOTT said in a news release

    Express

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