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Hope in Belize City Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 September 2012 00:00

Timmy StampAs evening sets in Belize City, there are children who gather daily at the corner of Plues Street and Dean Street. It is perhaps one of the least likely places where anyone would have or even want to have an after school program. Less than a block away is George Street, one of the most notorious streets in Belize City as it is the home base to one of the most ruthless and feared gangs in the Old Capital. But despite the environs, well-known Belize City personality, Timmy Stamp takes out armchairs across the street from his small grocery store for a daily evening program.

The chairs are neatly arranged in rows, on a slab of concrete that was once the floor of a building. There is a small blackboard leaning against a concrete wall and a chair is placed in front of it. It is set to resemble a classroom and promptly at 4:30 in the evening, classes commence. It starts off with a prayer and the sessions go well past evening time and into the night. There is no light here, other than the street lamps so the best of the daylight that remains is taken advantage of.

Stamp says that every day, there is a trickle of anywhere between 15 and 20 children from the neighborhood who sit in for after school classes. With the assistance of a young man and a young woman the children are taught the basics: mathematics, English and reading. They are also assisted with their homework as well. While most of the time he has help, there are times when Stamp himself has to do the teaching. When we caught up with him, he was giving them the basics of the September Celebrations- the 10th and the 21st. While it may seem rudimentary, the reality of it is that of the 9 boys who were present, there was only one of them who could answer basic questions about the September Celebration. The answers to the questions would incite inquisitiveness from those present; most exclaiming when they learnt that it has been 214 years since the battle of St. George's Caye.

And this is the very reaction that Stamp expects of the children, who are prone to becoming affiliates of the nearby gang. He says he prefers them at his humble after-school program than to them running around idle in the neighborhood. "All ah deh dah fi we pickney! Dah fi we duty fi tek care ah deh” he points out. And a truer statement could not be said and for Stamp it is his creed. He says that he personally acquired most of the chairs out of his personal finances. In fact, he goes into his pocket from time to time to give an incentive to those who help him with the children.

Stamp is by no means a wealthy individual, his grocery store on Dean Street sells bare necessities, but it does provide him enough to keep the program going. He adds that from time to time, those who see his efforts would make very small contributions, but most of the time it is a self-financed endeavor. Even though he may not be wealthy, Stamp says it is an absolute must to have the program going. He, himself, knows too well the consequences of being caught up in the world of gangs, guns and drugs. Anyone doing a background check on him would know that in the late '80's and early '90's, his name was synonymous with criminal activity. He's now pushed that aside however, and is giving back to have the young boys and girls who come to his evening classes not fall into the death trap of crime.
To Timmy Stamp we say: Much Respect!    

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:54