First Lady launches 'Kids First Fund'

Guyana Chronicle
April 10, 2000

FIRST Lady Uma Jagdeo yesterday morning officially launched `Kids First Fund', an emergency medical assistance programme to help ailing under-privileged children to access emergency medical treatment.

The launching of the Kids First Fund took place during a `Dim Sum Breakfast' held at the New Thriving Restaurant, Main Street, Georgetown.

Mrs Jagdeo said the organisation was established to provide emergency medical assistance for extremely sick children who are finding it very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to access funds for urgent treatment.

She disclosed that the Fund was in existence since 1997 and is one of a kind here because it deals only with children who have medical problems.

The First Lady said Kid First Fund has so far assisted some 20 under-privileged children suffering from various medical conditions.

She noted that the Ministry of Health has a backlog of approximately 5,000 cases and, until recently, had very little money to help those persons.

"Government has provided $200M. Although this seems to be a great contribution, when surgery costs thousands of United States dollars, it is not enough," Mrs Jagdeo noted.

She added that although the staff at the Ministry of Health is very cooperative, it is very difficult to get a swift response because the necessary `red tape' involved in processing these cases is time-consuming and also subject to many factors and approvals.

According to Mrs Jagdeo, Kids First Fund will raise finances by hosting fund-raising activities and canvassing for donations both locally and overseas. She added that persons can also donate medical supplies.

The wife of the Guyanese President said funds collected will be managed by a ten-member committee which is also responsible for vetting the cases in accordance with the Fund's selection criteria.

The First Lady explained that children must be under 18 years old and that every case must be examined by the relevant specialist.

"We have doctors in almost every field of medicine available in Guyana, who have agreed to examined patients we refer at no cost and to write a medical report in layman's terms for us to understand the intricacies of each case," Mrs Jagdeo told the gathering.

She said that most children are treated abroad because of the limited medical resources in the country. However, Mrs Jagdeo said, the Kids First Fund (KFF) Committee is examining every angle including local treatment if it can be done.

The First lady disclosed that Vijai Narine, one of the many children KFF has assisted, recently underwent surgery in Trinidad and Tobago for the removal of a brain tumour. Vijai is now a different and happy child, Mrs Jagdeo said.

Mrs Jagdeo said the wealth of a country is in its children and thanked everyone, including Mr Zhao and Mrs Che Jina Ping, owners of New Thriving Restaurant, for their support.

Treasurer of the Kids First Fund, Mr Lokenauth Seemangal, said the Committee will be treating each case as a separate project so that they will be able to identify the amount of money spent on each case.

He disclosed that receipts and monies will be well accounted for and all records and an audited financial report will be available.

Dr Hardat Persaud, Medical Consultant to the Fund, urged everyone to teach their children about giving so that they will appreciate what they have. He pointed out that the Kids First Fund has a network of not only financial inputs but also human resources.

Several business entities, including King's Jewellery, Le Meridien Pegasus, Caribbean Resources Limited, Toney's Enterprise, Kaieteur Newspapers, Woodpecker Products, the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry, Ganesh Parts and General Store, Rams Auto Spares, Guyana Quality Seafoods, Pressy Enterprise and several others, pledged and donated some $1.5M to the Kids First Fund at yesterday's ceremony.

Members of the KFF Committee are: Dawn Murray, Chairman; Phoolkumarie Coopsammy, Vice Chairman;, Rakesh Panday, Secretary; Ramesh Persaud, Legal Consultant; David King, Special Advisor; Paula James Fund Raising Coordinator; and Narendra Singh, Legal Consultant.

Mrs Jagdeo is Patron of the organisation.

Kids First Fund is located at Lot 182 Quamina Street, South Cummingsburg. It can be contacted through Post Office Box - 101522; on telephone numbers 65513-5 and 61156; fax 65517; and e-mail

Donations can be made at the New Building Society to account number S&P 7332. (AMANDA WILSON)