DIBRUGARH, July 19 - In all, 40 students from tea gardens were offered financial support in the form of cheques worth Rs 10,000, a certificate of appreciation and a bag each to support their higher studies under the Steven Smith Memorial Scholarship Award.
The scholarship distribution function was held on Friday at Romai Tea Estate under the aegis of Sewa Chai, a non-profit organisation. Kim Dement, wife of Late Steven Smith and representing the Steve Smith Teamaker organisation, was also present for the function. Others accompanying her included her son Jack Smith, Annie Bourne and Diyan Isaacs.
Steve Smith Teamaker has been supporting coaching for students through the School Education Retention Programme (SERP) in a few tea garden areas and Sewa Chai has been implementing it since 2012. Through SERP, disadvantaged students benefit through coaching and scholarships.
So far, 116 students have received financial support to continue higher education, the project officer said. Kim Dement was delighted to meet the beneficiaries as she personally gave away citations to the students. She also encouraged and wished them the best for their future career. The students were mainly from Romai TE, Singlijan TE, Basmatia TE and Dikom TE.
Deputy Commissioner MS Mannivaran attended the function as the chief guest. He exhorted the students to work hard in order to be successful in life. “Parental support and financial support was essential in the plantations for helping a child continue his studies,” he observed.
Mannivaran also urged them not to drop out, whatsoever, from colleges. The Deputy Commissioner further expressed gratitude to Kim Dement and her team from the USA for attending the Steven Smith Memorial Scholarship Award in person and handing over the scholarship award to the students in the district.
Arfan Hussain, Project Director of Sewa, shared the objectives of the programme. He said that the Sewa team was continuously motivating the students through home visits to attend the coaching centres and make them participate compulsorily in weekly and monthly tests.
The Project Director also shared information on other Sewa Chai activities under way in the tea gardens like vocational training on different trades for dropout students, economic development activities, working with local Government, and promotion of fuel efficiency stoves.
The other dignitaries present were Prodip Tiwari, Manager of Romai Tea Estate, Sewa Chief Adviser, retired Air Marshal Anjan Kumar Gogoi and Altaf Hussain, Sewa Secretary. The other representatives were from Sewa Chai project, SERP project officer, coaching centre teachers, ACMS representatives, ATTSA members and the teaching fraternity of Romai LP School.