Twins excel despite difficulties

January 09, 2017
Emboldened by their progress, twin sisters Shantoi (left) and Samoi, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment are seen here giving the valedictory address at their school, earlier this year.
Jean Lowrie-Chin

Despite being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Cognitive Impairment, exceptional twin sisters Shantoi and Samoi Miller, all of seven years old, are outstanding and inspiring students and the celebrated shining stars at the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) Centre of Excellence.

At this young age, the two girls have faced severe odds, overcome several major health and development obstacles, and are now beacons of hope, showing the value of the early stimulation in the lives of children with special needs.

Enrolled at the stimulation centre over the last three years, their teachers Aunties Melissa Robinson and Norma-Jean Powell quickly realised that the girls needed extra attention to develop their skills and talents.

Issues such as forgetting letters and numerals, not being able to keep up in class, and refusing to eat plagued the girls' development.

But help was on the way, as Digicel Foundation stepped in and provided critical funding under a programme designed to assist children like Shantoi and Samoi.

The poundation, having assisted some 34,000 persons with special needs since its inception, saw the Early Stimulation Programme as a right fit for the organisation's input.

The school was able to move into a newly renovated environment with additional tools for intervention. The teachers were more motivated to deliver better results for each child, and the twin girls went from being shy and reserved to outspoken and ready to face new adventures.

Their excitement about going to school could not be contained and they developed a level of confidence that made them no longer worried about what people had to say about their special needs.

At the end of their programme, they were both chosen as valedictorians for their graduating class.

Digicel Foundation chairman Jean Lowrie-Chin, in celebrating the achievement of the twin girls, believes that there are many other children like Shantoi and Samoi who can benefit from the efforts of the organisation.

"It really warms my heart when we are able to help, and to see how lives can be changed because of our partnerships." Lowrie-Chin said.

Shantoi and Samoi are inspiring classmates, parents, teachers and partners with their contagious warmth and can-do attitude towards life.

The ESP Centre of Excellence is among 45 special-needs projects benefitting from some US$11 million in funding from the Digicel Foundation.

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