Espejo Keeping Fort George’s YOUNG AT HEART Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:00

Young children of the Victoria Street area receive new bags for school (inset) Councillor Roger EspejoWith so many families barley able to put together uniforms for the upcoming school year, the pressure is on parents to make do with the little resources they can muster. The Fort George area which has multiple pockets of poverty is no stranger to this struggle. In fact, most people wouldn't believe that the area held by former PUP Prime Minister Said Musa is as challenged as any other, but the truth is that 'Fort George' doesn't bear the symptoms, socially speaking, of an area represented by a former 2-time, well-financed, Prime Minister. In fact, physically speaking, the 12 city streets recently upgraded in the constituency have come as a result of the Belize City Council where Councillor & Fort George Caretaker Roger Espejo ensures that the area receives its fair share of the municipal works.

But "it's not only about streets" says the young caretaker. And this is where the story really starts to change and where Espejo wishes to make a positive footprint. "It's about so much more and while I can only help where I can, I will always help when I can" he mentions as he distributes school bags for small children in the area. Last year the caretaker distributed 300 school bags and now attempts to improve on that number this year. Espejo maintains that helping the very young pays far more dividends (than other age brackets) for society as children are very impressionable at the 'high school age' and hence, according to him, should be cared for the most. "We should keep the young at heart" he says passionately yet succinctly as he endows a school bag on a little boy from a poor home.

Challenged as any other public officer for funding, Roger Espejo claims that school bags do so much more for kids than other items: "the esteem and pride that marginalized kids enjoy when taking a decent school bag to school builds self worth and that's critically important - indeed kids need uniforms & utensils but every adult [who has had the experience] knows what it felt like to bear a torn or worn school bag among peers back in school."

Fort George constituents also benefit from education subsidies that Mr. Espejo facilitates through the Ministry of Education and he thanks Minister Patrick Faber for this sterling support which the people in Fort George certainly appreciate. "Pat has never refused to help my area and I publicly acknowledge that" adds Roger. "Pat, too, is young at heart" he declares with a hopeful smile.