Andrew Alleng did not know that after he helped so many people in the Republic Bank Power to Make a Difference Programme, those same people would come to his assistance when he needed it the most.
Alleng, along with his brother Tony, has been using culture to make a difference in high risk areas through Zebapique Productions. The Alleng brothers bring in people from deprived areas and allow them to make costumes at Zebapique.
Zebapique Productions was one of 35 organisations to receive sponsorship at the launch of phase four of Republic Bank Ltd’s programme at Republic House, Park Street, Port of Spain, last Thursday.
Andrew, who was teary-eyed as he gave his address, relived the horror of losing his house to a fire earlier this year while he was out of the country.
He said, “This evening I want to touch on something that is personal. (In) 2018 I lost my house in a fire…I lost everything.”
Andrew said he knew the Power to Make a Difference Programme was making a huge impact, as he was now the person receiving assistance.
“What was great for me the people that I have impacted over the last 15 years in the Laventille area (helped me). The first set of pictures that came out (when I was away) were these people outside my house. Listen to what I am saying: these people were outside my house, making a difference to me now, and when I came back, I got a house to rent, it was just to put down my luggage and move into a fully furnished house (with) beds, and curtains up, and they said, ‘We have taken care of you.’”
Andrew urged everyone always to have hope. “Everyone who is involved in the charity that you do right now, don’t give up, because nobody knows what tomorrow brings for anybody, and somebody inside this room will be there for you.”
Other charities that received sponsorship included the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA), Exodus Steelband Orchestra, Republic Bank Laventille Netball League, the Emancipation Support Committee, the Cancer Society, Holy Rosary Church and SickKids Foundation.
Michelle Palmer-Keizer, general manager, marketing and communications, at Republic Bank, was satisfied what the programme had achieved to date. She said, “The past five years have truly been a watershed moment where we got a first glimpse, a teaser, of what the Power to Make a Difference was destined to become – a universal, but inclusive programme that unites individuals, communities, organisations, and all their hopes.”
Palmer-Keizer spoke about the number of people who have been affected by the programme.
“More than unite, it has empowered us to forge ahead with even more zeal: eyes fixed on the prize and spirits buoyed, knowing that we have worked with more than 250 organisations, successfully completed more than 300 projects, helped improve the lives of more than 100,000 people.”
Nigel Baptiste, managing director of the bank, is anticipating the future as the programmes tries to continue changing lives.
“Over the next five years,” he said, “we have pledged to work more closely with individuals and groups within the national community to ignite and fuel the spark of creativity necessary for real sustainable change. This includes venturing out of the proverbial box as we invest in revolutionary projects and initiatives that show the greatest promise in improving the overall quality and standard of life for many.”