Rapidfire Kidz Foundation President Kevin Ratiram being congratulated by President George Maxwell Richards, who attended the Foundation's launch with first lady Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards. Looking on are (from left to right) national cricketer Darren Ganga, San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali and Arima Mayor Ghassan Youseph.
Rapidfire Kidz Foundation Launched
THE Rapidfire Kidz Foundation, a newly formed charitable organisation, was launched two weeks ago, at the Paria Suites Hotel and Conference Centre.
The launch was attended by President George Maxwell Richards, who appealed to non-governmental organisations to reach out to children abandoned or neglected by their parents, to prevent them from living on the streets or joining criminal gangs.
Aslo at the function were first lady Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards,
national cricketer Daren Ganga, San Fernando Mayor Navi
Muradali, Arima Mayor Ghassan Youseph, Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar, President of the Rapidfire Kidz Foundation Kevin Ratiram, and Foundation Vice-President Joy Abdul.
In his address, Ratiram said "in planning to take kids on field trips, provide toys, medical assistance, and things of the sort, we are doing nothing new. There are numerous organisations that already do that. My vision for this Foundation is bigger than just toys and field trips. I direct you to our motto, "Fuel Your Heart". What does this mean? Well, to me, it refers to a feeling of fulfillment that overcomes you when you know that you've done God's work".
He said "by our actions, we shall inspire the rest of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a culture of charity-giving, where each of us regards ourself as our brothers' keeper, that we may one day rise up to become a compassionate people, in order that peace, serenity, and happiness shall prevail over this land. It is my hope that by the work we do, others will be inspired and motivated to do the same, that they may look at us, nod in approval, and say, "I want to do that too". I want our work to be infectious. And so, if a boy - scout troop, or a company, or a Government Ministry, or an ordinary citizen, is motivated to say, 'I want to do that too', then we are on the way to achieving our goal".
Ratiram said ""Look at what is happening in our country around us today. We are plagued by domestic violence, plagued by road carnage, plagued by drug and alcohol abuse. And sadly, we are plagued by crime. More than one murder every day in this country. We look at what is happening to our young men, who go in and out of prison like a revolving door. Our young men, who willingly take up a gun, walk into a store or a bar, and shoot the cashier to death for $500, to buy a Nike sneakers".
He said "the sad reality is, we have degenerated into a society of 'Gunmen gone astray'. Our young men, 16,17,18 years old, who never really had a chance, who were doomed to a violent death from the moment they were conceived, because of the surroundings in which they existed, who, from the time they learnt to speak, knew only of the gun, the bullet, the knife, the Nikes, and the gold chain. It is so easy to kill, to disregard the well-being of others. We have simply lost respect for one another".
Ratiram questioned "How do we save ourselves from this? How can we ensure that our people regain that respect for their fellow citizens? Many people think that the Government has to solve all our problems. But you know what? No matter how many laws are passed, no matter how many hours our MP's and Senators spend in Parliament, they can never legislate respect. No law can force our people to respect each other. For respect is not an action. It is a value. And values cannot come from laws. It must be instilled within you. The thing is, it's hard to instill new values in people our age. We are who we are already, and it's virtually impossible to change that".
Ratiram said " if we want to make a change, we need to instill proper values in our children, for they will determine the quality of tomorrow's society. And how do we do that? I say we need to nurture them, to talk to them, to spend time with them, guide them, and most importantly, set the right examples for them. Only then can the culture of 'Gunmen gone astray' be broken."