Juggling to go back to school

July 14, 2017
Shanique Facey

Like many students who are transitioning from primary to secondary school, Shanique is bubbling with excitement about this new phase of her life, having achieved the required grades needed to land her a spot at the high school of her choice.

But unlike many of her contemporaries, Shanique is not spending the summer with a book, or in a school room to help her transition into this new realm of education.

Instead, she is braving the scorching sun along Mandela Highway where she sells guineps in a bid to get money to fund her back to school.

"My mother doesn't have any money because she is unemployed," Shanique told THE WEEKEND STAR.

As soon as school was out, the 12-year-old persuaded her mother, Patria Facey, to allow her to sell on the streets.

"When I sell the guineps, I give the money to my mother so she can buy my school uniform," Shanique said.

Whether $200 or $300, the 12-year-old makes a daily contribution to her back-to-school funding.

"I don't pressure her because she is a young girl," Facey said. "Sometimes she spend a lot of the money on water because she is in the hot sun."

Facey said she never wanted to allow her 12-year-old to sell on the streets because of the danger that is at hand.

"I don't go out there because I am scared something might hit me, so I didn't want to send her out there," Facey said.

"Her father has some relatives with guinep tree so is there him pick dem from for her and she sells them."

According to Facey, Shanique's father works on the farm work programme and he is currently preparing to go back on the programme now.




But during the down season, the family finds it extremely difficult to make ends meet and oftentimes have to resort to selling guineps to provide meals and money for school.

"Is just guineps and naseberries him sell out a Mandela when he is not on farm work."

Shanique wants to become a soldier when she grows up.

While commending Shanique's efforts to try to help herself, Children's advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, also wants to caution parents against allowing their children to be out on the road selling as it may expose them to danger.

"We want to know that there is adequate supervision for her while she is doing this," Gordon Harrison said.

"If there is adequate adult supervision, the child is not exposed to any bad areas, it is not unduly long or inappropriate persons having access to the child, then we wouldn't say that it can't happen."

When THE WEEKEND STAR observed Shanique selling on Mandela Highway, she was in the company of her 19-year-old sister.

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