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Jimmy Bhojedat is a ‘Special Person’ “My advice to youths in any depressed situation is to not settle for less and always strive for better, because the opportunities are there to succeed.”By Gary EleazarThere are few young people that have made it into this popular Sunday Feature ever since this newspaper commenced its highlighting of exemplary citizens among us, but in a country known for unmatched hospitality and caring hearts, it would not be uncommon to come across a young individual deserving of being recognized as a special person. Jimmy BhojedatThirty-two-year-old Jimmy Bhojedat, who hails from the rural community of Mahaicony on the East Coast of Demerara, the proud father of 2 ½ year-old Jediel and recipient of the United Nations award, is one such individual.The accolade was presented to Bhojedat in 2003 by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for his work as it relates to helping Guyana achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals – the Eradication of Poverty.But just who is Jimmy Bhojedat?This newspaper spoke with this humble, yet driven young man who says that he comes from a working class family.His mother Cheryl is a Headmistress and father Charandas, a medex, and he credits them in large part for academic success and more to the point,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, his drive to elevate himself and never settle for less.Bhojedat, whose initial dream was to be a pilot,Cheap China Jerseys, attended Mahaicony Primary and Secondary schools, and subsequently the University of Guyana. He conceded quite early that he would not be able to pursue flying, because as he noted, his parents were of a working class background. He opted for a medical profession instead.Bhojedat described himself as a driven individual who despite liking sports, was not really sports oriented but pursued activities such as debating which he excelled in, at one time leading his school to victory in a prestigious competition.When he graduated from Secondary School (as best student) in 1993,NFL Jerseys Supply, his leadership skills and role model qualities that he had demonstrated encouraged the school to accept him as a pupil teacher, tutoring in Biology and Integrated Science.He taught fifth formers, although he was in the same age group as his students, and under his leadership the school managed to secure its first 100 per cent pass rate at the CXC for Biology.Bhojedat said that it was his desire to give back to the school that helped to mould him which led him to teach there. This was despite modest remuneration.Having helped the school to achieve history, Bhojedat said that it was time to continue on his path of elevating himself and he enrolled at the University of Guyana.He said that his initial desire was to be a Doctor, but because he did not write ‘A’ levels he had to sign up for Pre-Med,NFL Jerseys Cheap, doing an associate degree.Inspiring the gatheringBhojedat majored in micro-biology and this caused him to forget about being a doctor.This field he said caused him to realise that there was so much more that he could contribute to science in research and development.He recalled that first major turning point in his life was in his final year at the University of Guyana when he was place on work-study attachment at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.This was the time of his life when he said that he learned of the stigma attached to persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS since he was attached to the GUM (Genito Urinary Medicine) Clinic.He said that during that period there was widespread misunderstanding in relation to HIV/AIDS and there was little or no support for those living with the disease.At the hospital he said that he met with Dereck Fisher who told him about a radical idea.He and Fisher discussed the establishment of an entity that could seek to edify and support such affected persons. This was the beginning of what Bhojedat said led him to live a life of giving selflessly toward the betterment and uplift of others.The discussion led to the formulation of Lifeline Counseling, which has directly and indirectly helped thousands of Guyanese.He said that in the beginning the subject was such a taboo one that, while trying to raise money to go about their mission, people looked upon them with scorn, even their friends.The youth leader recalled that there was one time in the beginning when they held a cake sale at the lawns outside of Guyana Stores and several persons refused to buy the cakes and inexplicably looked at them with disdain.Imagining the potential So bad was the situation that the founders were forced to put their own money into the programme.He said that the families of infected victims were not excluded, adding that he even found himself helping to lift coffins into the cemetery while the families of persons who died as a result of the disease, stayed afar.Bhojedat said that they were grateful to the then Minister of Health Gail Teixeira who got onboard and allowed them to use her name and office to assist greatly in the cause.He opined that as a result of his ability to lead he was even placed as the Executive Director of the entity at one time.Bhojedat explained that Lifeline Counseling moved from “practically begging” to being in a position to help so many, to the point that they have made a positive impact in the mindset of Guyanese as it relates to the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and its prevention.While other young men would prefer to frequent nightclubs at weekends to have fun, Bhojedat’s Friday nights were occupied with going to clubs to share out condoms.He said too that he would frequent places where it is know that commercial sex workers plied their trade.“My friends used to ask me if I ain’t got nothing better to do with my Friday nights.”But his work was not confined to that of just counseling and seeking to gain an edge in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, he also ventured into the realm of seeking to assist people to elevate themselves out of poverty.Just before the conversation with Bhojedat moved on, I asked what advice he would give to any young individual, in or out of school currently, that may see their life as being hopeless.Reference was made to the fact that there is a high level of illiteracy in Guyana and this in turn is turning the youth to crime.It was pointed out that one of Guyana’s most wanted men currently was not even a man, but a teenager. There was also reference to the point that there is a high level of young violent criminals in Guyana.‘Fine-man’ was believed to have led a child army.Bhojedat asserted that persons in society in those positions have come to accept whatever comes their way.“My advice to youths in any depressed situation is to not settle for less and always strive for better, because the opportunities are there to succeed.”Another programme that this dynamic young man has been a part of was the Caribbean Hunger Fund, which he headed for some time. He was also head of the US Peace Corps (Guyana) and this,Cheap Jerseys China, he stressed, was one of the most rewarding posts he has held.This programme, according to Bhojedat, allowed him to travel extensively in the ten administrative regions and caused him to truly realize the depth of poverty in his homeland.He said that this programme allowed him to be part of formulating policies and initiatives – with the help of those affected – that would enable them to uplift themselves.He said that it is rewarding to know that when he goes to a community,NFL Jerseys China, a person is able to say that as a result of some initiative that he was a part of, they are living a better life now.Bhojedat’s drive to help others was so overwhelming that he pursued a Master’s Degree in both Management and Public Health.He said that he is pleased that at such a young age, he has been able to be a part of programmes that have caused him to touch the lives of so many needy persons countrywide.He concluded by noting that active participation in his church has helped to mould him into the compassionate person he has become.