The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) donated new chrome plated steel pan instruments to the boys of the St. John Bosco Orphanage in Plaisance on the East Coast of Demerara.
The instruments will be used by the children from the Orphanage that form the St. John Bosco Steel Orchestra. The donation was made possible through representation by the Tina Insanally Foundation.
Delivering brief remarks at the handing-over ceremony yesterday Monday, May 14th, 2018, was the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Country Representative, Ms Patrice LaFleur.
She said that it is the aim of UNESCO to contribute to a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty through education, sciences and communication.
Further, she said that the National Commission of UNESCO in Guyana falls under the Ministry of Education and contributes to nine of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, two of which are education and culture.
Ms LaFleur said that the organisation sees culture as a driver of sustainable development. She added that each year countries are required to submit proposals of projects that require funding to the international body, and the Tina Insanally Foundation was one organisation that received funding in 2017 along with the National Accreditation Council, Civil Defence Commission and the Health and Family Life Education department within the Ministry of Education.
Ms LaFleur said that UNESCO is pleased that the foundation is addressing the needs of a particular target group and that it is proud of the foundation's dedication to the initiative.
She said, "This contribution will result in a new culture among the students as they acquire new skills and the culture of working together to produce harmonious music."
It was explained by the founder of the organization, Mr Victor Insanally that this year marks eight years since the Tina Insanally Foundation has been working with the St. John Bosco Orphanage.
He said that efforts are being made to have former members of the steel orchestra to come together and play as a professional group. While UNESCO donated the funds to purchase the instruments, the sourcing of the pans was facilitated by Guyanese pannist, Mr Aubrey Bryan in London.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry, in her feature address, said that it is well known that music lessons enhance brain function as well as cognitive skills, especially among disadvantaged children.
"Hence, the opportunity for the children of St. John Bosco Orphanage to learn to play music on the steel pans will provide them with a new focus, one which will open their horizons."
Minister Henry applauded the efforts of Mr Insanally and his staff for their contribution to music education. She said that the Ministry of Education emphasizes the importance of music education since it is aware of the benefits to children and the society as a whole. Minister Henry said that she is looking forward to attending one of the cultural events of the orphanage where the students will entertain the community of Plaisance with their musical skills and renditions.
During the ceremony yesterday, members of the St. John Bosco Steel Orchestra entertained the gathering with a number of musical renditions that included folk songs as well as national songs.