The underprivileged and vulnerable of Antigua and Barbuda have a new champion in Lady Sandra Williams , wife of Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, who launched The Halo Foundation in 2014 to brigade and support the efforts made by more than twenty organizations within the twin-island state and encourage donors to come to their assistance. Halo’s concern for charitable entities such as the Friends of the Care Project , the Sunshine Home for Girls, the Sickle Cell Association and the Boys’ Training School, to name a few, has to be warmly applauded . The clear synergy which this Foundation creates, the opportunity which funders both national and international will have through its good offices to help a broad spectrum of people in need will create a “Halo” effect which will touch those who suffer acute disadvantage. I hope everyone will give generously and assist the First Lady of Antigua and Barbuda in her efforts to relieve the distress of the vulnerable and those in need , and to ensure that the joy of living in the beautiful island of my father’s birth is shared by all.
I was very happy and excited when Her Excellency Lady Sandra Williams, had selected me as the chaperone to two wonderful young ladies, Adia Wynter and Francesca Southwell on their trip to Shanghai, China for the 12th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Summer Camp hosted by the Shanghai’s People Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC) and the Shanghai Youth Federation. Being able to have this once in a lifetime experience was truly amazing. Although I was a chaperone, I too was able to be apart of all the activites the camp organizers had planned. There were many trips to different historical sites and museums such as the Zhujiajiao Ancient Water Town, located at the bank of the Dianshan Lake in the Qingpu District in China, the Shanghai Natural History Museum, the largest museum of natural science in China that is dedicated to natural history in the city of Shanghai and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, situated at the Huangpu River, and is the second tallest structure in Shanghai. We were also indulged in experiencing Chinese culture to the fullest where they educated us on the ancient Chinese art of Tie Dye and created our own pieces; dressed up in the traditional attire from the various Chinese Dynasties known as Hanfu, and dined on traditional Chinese cuisine. The entertainment didn’t stop there as there were many leisure activities to enjoy. There was evening Boat Cruise on the Huangpu River where one could enjoy the view of colourfully lit buildings and bridges. We took a spin through Shanghai Ocean World filled with sea creatures from across the globe and shortly after viewed an exciting performance of Beluga Whales. We got the opportunity to shop while exploring Tianzifang, a labyrinth of alleys lined with specialty shops and art workshops, teahouses, open-air restaurants, terrace cafes, and galleries. We also had the delightful experience of watching a captivating Acrobatic Show at the Shanghai Centre. The highlight of these activities was the day spent at the newly opened Shanghai Disney Land where everyone present got wrapped up in the awe and wonder of the rides, Disney characters, performances and the big firework show signalling the end of the day. There were over 20 countries from across the world, Australia, Bulgaria, Denmark and Italy just to name a few, that were involved in this initiative and we all got to display our different cultures and backgrounds while making new friends and new memories. If given the opportunity, I would do it all over again. A special thanks to Lady Williams and the Antigua and Barbuda China Friendship Association for this amazing opportunity.
I approached the Halo Foundation because during a visit to a Primary School, I met a 10 year old boy who had very poor eyesight, I spoke to his teacher and she stated that the child previously had glasses, however, they had been broken and his learning was affected by his poor eyesight, in turn, this was having a negative impact on the child’s behaviour in the classroom.
I took the Tashique for a sight test and he is actually ‘legally blind’. I then spoke to the child’s family, they said the family are aware, but, cannot find the money for new glasses. The Optician ordered new glasses.
Originally, I had a donor to fund the glasses, unfortunately, this donor did not materialise with the funding. It was at this point I approached Lady Williams at the Halo foundation, she took the request to her committee and a cheque was sent to the Opticians within 1 week, to pay for the glasses.
What I particularly liked about working with the foundation was the timely manner in which the matter was dealt with, and, the personal touch that Lady Williams provided by coming to the school and meeting the child and his classmates. The child’s face when he put on his glasses was an absolute picture of joy and happiness.
I found the experience to be very rewarding and worthwhile, it was a pleasure to be involved in seeking assistance for this child and working with Lady Williams and the Halo Foundation
I remember receiving a call from Lady Williams telling me that I was going to China. At first it was a bit unbelievable that I could be selected to be a part of this once in a lifetime experience, but after I realized that it was no joke, I had been selected along with Amaya Athill and Cherrie Osborne to represent the Antigua Barbuda China Friendship Association and in extension Antigua & Barbuda in Shanghai China at the Shanghai World Travel Fair 2017. Preparation leading up to the trip was overwhelming mainly due to the language barrier and moreover I was the youngest and least experienced in the trio. Despite this we arrived in China and got to work with no time to spare. For four days we were able to interact with many different persons, promoting the agenda of the ABCFA, as well as forging friendships with many persons to include some extremely friendly persons who represented Ethiopia, who gave us hand knitted scarfs and local Ethiopian tea Learning a bit of Chinese, eating authentic Chinese cuisine like dumplings and noodles, being taken on a VIP tour around the city, visiting the Chinese Museum and many of the different shopping malls where we were amazed by the unbelievable amount of stores where on could shop, seeing the skyline at night (the bund) and crossing over the river via the ferry to tour the financial district, visiting the pearl tower, riding the metro, touring an original Chinese Temple where we saw monks worshiping and meeting with the Chinese Friendship Association with Foreign Countries all tied into the experience. It was also exciting as we travelled to and from the center via foot each day, we saw numerous customs which were different to Caribbean culture. Morning exercise in the parks, afternoon meditation and evening dancing in the squares at different districts were a norm for the older (retired) men and women. This trip was truly one I will remember forever and I hope that I will be able to someday visit China again. I would like to thank the Antigua & Barbuda Chinese Friendship Association and moreover I would like to profusely thank Her Excellency Lady Williams for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.
As president of Friends of The Care Project I have found the help and support given to us by THE HALO FOUNDATION simply amazing. On our behalf The Halo Foundation raised funding for a Voice Box for a young man who cannot speak. This has changed his life beyond recognition. This young person is now able to communicate with all whom he comes into contact with – how wonderful is this, thank you. We at Friends of The Care Project are honoured to be affiliated with The Halo Foundation.