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Bernice Mansell is a ‘Special Person’ “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them, a man may live long yet get little from life. Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years but on your will.”By Jenelle CarterThe name Bernice Mansell has over the years become synonymous with giving, caring and sharing, particularly when it comes to the less fortunate among us. The inimitable voice of this outstanding daughter of the soil has also created a stir in almost every household over the years. The fans of Radio Demerara can attest to this.Mrs. Bernice Mansell or as many call her ‘Aunty Bernice’ is no stranger to Guyanese at large as she has spent most of her lifetime reaching out to the needy. Now her dream involves giving early school leavers a second chance.Now in her seventies “Aunty Bernice’ is still in the business of reaching out to those in need, be it just sitting and listening to the plight of an abused woman, wrapping a parcel of goodies for someone in great need or pampering a senior citizen like herself for a day.A true woman of substance, Mrs. Bernice MansellBernice Mansell was the third of four children. She has two brothers and one sister. Her early school years were spent at the St. Phillips school but her family situation forced her to work extra hard to develop herself. Luckily in her later years of schooling her tutor took her under her wings and ensured she excelled in every area of studies.  Once her schooling was completed her struggle up the ladder of success had only just begun. From then on she never stopped reaching for the stars as she always placed God first, family second and her career third.Her journey towards sterling contributions began as she recalls “on a bright sunny day in June 1953” when she joined the staff of the Rediffusion Group of Companies, which was also known as “The Voice of Guyana” as a receptionist.She soon found out that everything seems to work out once you put your life in its proper perspective.As she recollected, the company was at the time housed in North Road and subsequently relocated in 1954, to a spanking new building on High Street called Radio Demerara.It was then that her career as a voice to the less fortunate, a wife and mother and her journey in pursuit of unlimited opportunities in a growing entity begun.In February of 1954 she married her next-door neighbour, Edwin Henry Mansell and out of that union they produced four boys and two girls. Today they are all married and have proudly presented their parents with nine grand children and five great grandchildren.As she would like to put it, her marriage withstood the test of times, the disappointments, the sadness, the loss of their parents and they are now celebrating 55 years of togetherness.It was in that same year (1954) as well, that her voice became that representing the many needy families in Guyana, when the Radio’s Needy Children Fund was founded. At the time the organisation was headed by Mrs. Olga Lopes-Seales, who now resides in Barbados.However from the birth of that organisation, Mrs. Mansell’s most humble voice through her radio programme drew persons of great stature to reach out to those of meagre means.Her role was very integral from the inception, as she held the position of secretary and then treasurer.After 12 years, in 1966, ‘Aunty Olga’ the head of the organisation left with her family for Barbados, leaving a void in the operation of the fund.President Forbes Burnham presenting Mrs. Mansell with the Medal of Service.It was at that point Mrs. Mansell realized that it was now up to her to either take up the mantle or move on with her own life and forget about those who depended so much on the organisation. Unselfishly,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Outlet, she chose the former.“That day when Aunty Olga left I went into my room and cried after deciding to take up the mantle and I asked God why he led me to do this, but I knew I had to,Wholesale Jerseys Online,” Mrs. Mansell recollected.Once she made her mind up it was no turning back and she managed to hold the entity together for some 32 years.Over those years Mrs. Mansell and her team have reached out to almost every community in Guyana to lend a helping hand.To those who never thought that having a bright Christmas would happen for them, it actually did through the many Radio’s Needy Children’s Fund annual Christmas parties.The lives of children from as far as Lethem,Jerseys NFL Cheap, Rupununi, Matthew’s Ridge and as easily accessible as the Lodge and Albouystown communities have been touched, just to mention a few.“While some of these outreaches seemed insignificant, you would have to be there to see how much it means to a little boy to be presented with a toy truck,” Mrs. Mansell reflects.But through it all balancing her job, her home and the fund was no easy task, she admits.Nevertheless her responsibilities were eased with the presence of her mother in the home. “I never needed that kind of support more desperately than I did at that time.”Her belief is that one of many thoughts that carried her through myriad challenges was “One can have anything they want in this world but there is a price to it.”After dedicating 32 years toward the Radio’s Needy Children’s Fund, Mrs. Mansell called it quits to pursue her lifelong dream.“It was more like a vision of expanding my ideas for a better Guyana to carry my care and concern for needy children to a higher level and that is to give early school leavers the education needed to uplift themselves”.Today the Bernice Mansell Foundation (established in 1999) is more than a pre-retirement idea; it has become a reality, and for Aunty Bernice a dream come through.Mrs. Mansell says the Foundation came about because the first thing she did before setting it up was to take God as a partner.For the past ten years the entity has grown from strength to strength with numerous blessings of assistance from none less than the British High Commission, the Canadian and American Embassies, UNESCO and quiet recently Educare.Currently, the Bernice Mansell Foundation caters for some 36 students and with a staff compliment of three, the students are taught the basics in Mathematics, English and Computer Science. Also offered are skills training which include, joinery, catering and craft making.Mrs. Mansell mentioned that she could not have done it had it not been for the generous support of Mr. Leon Davis, of Food for the Poor.“Through all the trials and setbacks we have faced I was also greatly supported and encouraged by Mr. Rafiq Khan who always believed in me and give me the confidence to become who I am today with four little words “You can do it”,.Another popular personality who kept her on her path of caring for the needy was the late Paul Persaud, more fondly referred to as Paul O Hara.“His message to me was that to be somebody great, do big things, don’t give up, be an inspiration to others, what the world needs is a good word of good cheer, someone to love and someone to care.”She remembers that when disappointment or failure drove her to her knees in tears, it was always Mr. O’Hara’s advice to her that kept her going “Your failures and disappointment are the stepping stones to make you a stronger and better person”.While giving of her best to the many she came to meet through her generosity, Mrs. Mansell was duly awarded for her efforts. While noting that the best rewards were the smiles on contended faces,Wholesale Jerseys China, she is still thankful for those in society who had seen it fitting to reward her.Mrs. Mansell was awarded the Medal of Service by the Burnham administration. In 2003,Cheap Jerseys USA, she was also honoured by the International Year of Volunteers Committee. Mrs. Mansell was also the proud recipient of a Woman of the year award for her humanitarian works.All this, she said, could not have been achieved without God’s help,China Jerseys, the support of her family, both home and abroad, friends and co-workers who have all encouraged her along the way.Her advice to all is “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them, a man may live long yet get little from life. Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years but on your will.”
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