At the launch of the Zaheer Ali XI windball cricket team earlier this year, the former Trinidad and Tobago cricketer insisted that the initiative was just the start of a bigger plan to curb the rampant crime situation in the country.
Ali, through the Zaheer Ali Foundation, will start what could be termed as stage two of his plan.
The foundation will be conducting a workshop entitled “Building Youth Awareness” at the Bamboo Presbyterian Primary School today from 9 a.m. with personnel from the T&T Police Service and from the T&T Psychiatrists Association coming to work with the children.
There will also be a motivational talk given by national sporting personality Rayad Emrit who was part of the T&T cricket team that took part in the Champions League Twenty20 in India earlier this month.
Ali, who left the game in the 2003/2004 season after representing T&T in ten first-class matches, said it is the first project his foundation will be undertaking as part of their goal of fostering youth development.
“The concept behind it is that in light for the prevalence of youth violence in Trinidad and Tobago, the foundation saw it as an objective to collaborate with the various stakeholders to try and arrest the crime situation,” Ali said of the project.
He said they decided to target children at the primary school level so they would be prepared for the challenges and peer pressure that they will face at the secondary school level.
“We are collaborating with the various stakeholders with the goal of building the social and human resource capital of T&T and this is an initiative that we hope to continue throughout T&T,” said Ali who is also former Bamboo Presbyterian School student.
“I started my education there and I thought that it would be best that they be the first beneficiary of the foundation,” he added.
Ali, who also played for the West Indies B team, also noted that the foundation would like to expand the programme to other “high risk” areas where there are high levels of crime.
“It is our objective to empower the young people and discourage them from criminal activities and we have to start at an early stage,” Ali explained.
In terms of the Emrit’s role in the workshop, Ali said the T&T allrounder will be there as an example to the youngsters of what can be achieved by hard work and sacrifice.
“Emrit will be there to give a motivational talk and give the youngsters an alternative to crime,” Ali concluded.