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Age is no barrier for Marjorie, 73: Grandma graduates in computer studies, wants to re-engineer people

Sunday, March 15, 2015
Marjorie Anderson shows off her certificate. PHOTOS: ROBERTO CODALLO

Arouca granny Majorie Anderson epitomises the phrase “You are never too old to learn,” after having graduated with certificates in computer literacy, Microsoft Powerpoint and Access. Anderson, at the ripe age of 73, has vowed to continue her studies, even as she urges fellow mature citizens to follow suit and increase their knowledge. “Learning keeps your mind alert and healthy,” Anderson said, as she grinned warmly during an interview with the Sunday Guardian on Friday. 

Last week, Anderson, a retired social worker and human resources executive, was among some 312 participants who graduated from free computer literacy classes hosted by the National Poverty Reduction and Eradication Programmes Coordinating Unit under the Ministry of the People and Social Development. Anderson, a grandmother of three and countless others through her social work, said she was inspired to pursue computer studies so she could navigate the technology available as well as bridge the gap between her grandchildren and herself.

“This is the technological age and to me, age is not a barrier to learning, and if you want to participate and continue to be in the society and to be somebody that would be an asset to society I would go on and do something rather than sitting and not doing anything,” Anderson explained. Anderson, who is vibrant, charming and very spiritually-centred, said for her, learning computers, was also an opportunity to enhance her community/social work and reach out to  people in need. 

“For me, I want to be an engineer. I want to re-engineer people, to be the platform for people to realise why they are here, what talents they have,” she said. Anderson, who holds a degree in Social Work and a Masters in Education Administration, had a distinguished career in education, counseling and curriculum development. She worked at the Ontario Correctional Institute in Canada, Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario and the T&T Hospitality and Tourism Institute, and was the former manager of the National School Feeding programme.

She admitted that during her career she was exposed to the computer, but never pursed formal computer studies. She said she had enlisted her grandchildren to help her learn. However, that was a challenge, since they did not have the patience. Hence, she decided to pursue formal training. Anderson said while she lived in the East, she was a “Mother” and active member of the United Brotherhood of Time Spiritual School in South Oropouche, which is where she came in contact with the Penal telecentre and the opportunities for learning offered there.

She said she had no qualms about going back to studies even though she was the oldest student in the class. “I love to acquire knowledge on a lot of things. Even though you know some things, you do not know everything. That is why I love to be around people. You get to learn a lot of things from people and there are a lot of things you can learn from people, which is life skills,” she said. Anderson credited her tutor Aaron Caesar and Penal telecentre administrator Debbie Majeed for her drive to continue her computer studies.

She also thanked her classmates who assisted her during her classes and were always respectful. “That inspired me. I am really willing and raring to go. They say to me ‘when I reach your age I want to be like you, I want to keep going. To be an example and encouragement,’” she said. She said her inspiration was Almighty God, who continued to give her the strength and good health to pursue her dreams. Anderson said she was now on Facebook and her grandchildren were encouraging her to join other social media sites.

“Now my grandkids want to teach me all kinds of things, they are proud of me now and they want me to do Twitter and so on. It has become a bridge between me and my grandkids and all the kids in the church. Now I have a computer (at) home and I could access things and it feels nice,” she said. She is urging all citizens to make use of the free programmes available at all six telecentres nationwide.

“I feel a sense of not only accomplishment, but empowered and independent and I want to empower people. I want women to feel empowered when they do their computer course,” she said. Anderson said she intended to pursue more computer courses and was interested in doing data processing next.


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