itel’s 4Ys Foundation Adopts an Island This Holiday Season
This December, itel decided to go above and beyond its much-needed food and toy drives in Jamaica as its 4Ys Foundation adopts a Guyanese island.
There was an enthusiastic turnout as community members from Wakenaam, a small rural island off the coast of Guyana, gathered to receive itel representatives during a special holiday luncheon hosted by the company on December 18th.
“This year, we wanted to launch itel’s 4Ys Foundation in Guyana in a grand way,” explains Sheriece Baker, the People, Resources and Culture Manager in Guyana who spearheaded the Wakenaam “Adopt an Island” project. “We decided to do something different from other companies who usually help orphanages or well-known charities. People forget, there are 365 islands in Guyana, and many could use our help, not just for the holidays, but through year-round initiatives that encourage education and personal development.”
The itel representatives met with the island’s Chairman, Sheikh Ahmad, and over a hundred Wakenaam residents attended the luncheon event, from small children with their families, to adults and seniors.
“Usually, we would all sit down and eat together,” says Baker, “However, this year, because of COVID-19, we offered pre-packaged meals of fried chicken and rice, mac and cheese, cakes and candies, that people can take home with them.”
Each person received a gift of necessary items, lovingly donated by itel employees, and collected over the course of December. “We received so many donations,” comments Baker. “Employees filled barrels with new and gently-used clothing, non-perishable foods, and toys for the kids.”
The Gift of Inspiration
What was given that day wasn’t just gifts. It was connection and inspiration.
“They were so excited to see us,” explains Aisha D' Abreu, itel’s Strategic Account Director, who spent the morning playing with the local children, even joining them in some TikTok videos. “There was this little boy who asked me if he could work for itel. I said, sure, of course you can. Just focus on your education and one day I’ll need to retire, and you can take my job.”
Two high-achievers were also recognized and celebrated that day. Students from Wakenaam’s only primary school scored exceptionally well on Guyana’s Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE), which served as an inspiration to others in the community and earned them both a spot in one of the top five secondary schools in the country.
“However, many parents don’t have the means to send their kids to schools outside their island community,” adds Baker. “So, itel honored each one by giving them financial awards to go towards their education.”
After all, family is part of the itel culture, and one focus of its 4Ys Foundation is to advance education and create career development possibilities across all the communities in which it operates.
As Baker mentions, “our employees in Guyana often come from these outlying regions, and we want to show that we’re committed to these communities, they are part of the itel family, and we are invested in the future of these people.”
That’s why itel Guyana will be creating a special 4Ys Committee to look into further initiatives throughout the year, in Wakenaam and other neighboring islands. They are currently looking into some programs that could be rolled out to various communities, such as a teaching valuable computing and career development skills.
Want to help itel’s charitable initiatives? Find out more about our 4Ys Foundation and how we’re making a lasting impact.