Avibrant young ambitious woman, Tember Cadette has a heart of gold. She’s a giver by nature, which may be what led her to founding a charitable organisation called ‘Do Something Different’ (DSD). She helps students who are unable to afford the basic necessities for school, which is, as she says, ‘heart-breaking’. She has big aspirations to further herself and her organisation in the future. Apart from that she’s a dancer, but DSD is her favourite hobby. And, even with work, she has managed to keep on top of her game with the organisation.
What was the process of starting up the ‘Do Something Different’ organisation?
Tember: Do Something Different started simply as an idea. For a few months, I didn’t really know how to go about it. I gathered my closest friends and spoke to them about it; they were all on board with the idea. We decided social media would be our main platform considering DSD is a youth-driven initiative. We launched the idea simply on our Instagram pages with a quick explanation we typed up in notepad and it really just expanded from there.
How old is the organisation?
Tember: We launched DSD January 10, 2017. So the organisation is roughly seven-months-old, still a baby.
What inspired you to establish the organisation?
Tember: I think I’ve given this story at every interview! I’ll never forget the day I observed a student at tertiary level doing an SBA on file sheet. It was really heart-breaking to watch. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen something like that; all of us (members of DSD) can identify at least one person who wore the same uniform for five years, or someone who never had something as simple as a pen or pencil of their own, and it really makes you think. It was here that I really developed the concept of DSD.
What is the concept of Do Something Different?
Tember: Originally our mission was to collect as many stationery items and school bags as possible and redistribute them to less fortunate students around the island. When we say stationery we mean simple things that on their own are affordable but when you put it together with everything a student needs on a daily basis turn out to be quite expensive. These items include pens, pencils, pencil cases, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, scientific calculators etc.
How many members are part of the organisation?
Tember: At the moment DSD only has six members including myself. However, we’re looking to expand in the near future!
As the founder of ‘Do Something Different’ what does your position entail?
Tember: As the founder I tend to help with everything but my focus has always been collecting the items and keeping track of what we have as we go along. No matter how far away or how small or large the donation may be I always make it my duty to collect it in a timely fashion.
How is the organisation doing with the new school year opening in a few weeks?
Tember: We’ve been doing pretty well so far. Most of our donations were done before school closed to ensure students were ready for the next academic year. However, we’ve received so many donations since then that we are actually still preparing more packages to be distributed.
Generally, how have your efforts impacted the individuals you’ve helped? Have you received any feedback?
Tember: The feedback has honestly been great. It’s a warm feeling to know the help is needed. From teachers especially, knowing the needs of the students, we’ve received many warm hugs and heartfelt thank yous.
Do you still attend school/ have a job? If so, how do you manage both the organisation and work?
Tember: I graduated from Sir Arthur Lewis in December 2016. Since then, I’ve completed a math course online whilst I’m currently employed at Guardsman. In the beginning I found it a bit challenging but I’ve learned to make good use of my lunch hour and any other waking moment I can get before I rest. It’s really a matter of just knowing that I have things to do and getting it done.
What are your aspirations?
Tember: One of my greatest aspirations right now is to create a DSD Youth Network with young people from the across the island. I also plan on pursuing a degree in Forensic Science in the new academic year whilst still maintaining my work with DSD.
Do you have a specific message you’d like to send out to the public?
Tember: I’d like to remind people that it’s unfair to expect all students to perform at the same level because we’re all offered
the same quality of education. In this era of technology, resources play a huge role. We can’t break the cycle until we even out the playing field. The more resources we offer our students, the better off our nation will be.