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The Humanity First Information Technology Centre (HFITC) recently opened its doors in Berbice with the promise to offer free tuition to underprivileged children.

February 8, 2007 -- The Humanity First Information Technology Centre (HFITC) recently opened its doors in Berbice with the promise to offer free tuition to underprivileged children.

At a short opening ceremony recently held Maulana Alhassan Bashir Annan, a representative of the non-governmental organisation Humanity First (HF) said the computer learning centre will offer free tuition to needy students selected from orphanages and religious institutions in the communities and tuition costs for other students will be set at a fraction of the going rates.

Annan said the group conducted a medical and nutritional outreach exercise in Guyana during the flood in 2005 as part of Phase I of its disaster relief efforts. The official said the organisation also observed, during the same period, that there was an educational crisis during that period and the group then decided to establish the computer school in Phase II, and chose Berbice for its location as Georgetown already had similar schools.

Annan said the group had put together a team, comprising Americans and Guyanese members to assess the needs, benefits, cost and best location of opening such a centre and selected the St Ann Street, New Amsterdam location. He said the school "seeks to provide support to communities afflicted by natural or man-made disasters" and further, "It is also to help the affected persons to recover and to live a normal life irrespective of their religious, ethnic, or racial background." He said the school, which is the first of its kind in the region is to help to empower the citizens, "particularly in this age of science and technology where every job or business requires computer literacy." Annan said two computer engineers from HF, in the United States (USA); Musharaf Rashid and Farhan Mirza came to Guyana two weeks prior to the opening to install 26 computers at the centre which also boasts a number of other computers that students can use for practise or to do their home-work freely.

Other facilities, including online teaching, from the USA, have also been put in place and would soon, Annan said, adding that the tuition would be done by computer professionals, attached to HF, in the USA. He appealed to the community leaders for their full support and co-operation to ensure that the school is operated smoothly.

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Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.

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