Aeon Chintersingh is living his dream. He gets to study animation at the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI) after receiving a scholarship through the Advance Program.
“Animation is life,” said Aeon. He admitted he would not have been able to study animation without the scholarship because his parents did not deem it to be profitable and refused to pay for training in this area.
“I was told from a very early age that [arts] would not make me money, so as a child I would hear that every day.”
Aeon has been dreaming about his future as a production professional, with the desire to become an animator or filmmaker. He started sketching from an early age, hoping to one day use this talent in either field. According to Aeon, despite his parents’ discouraging words, he still sketched during his leisure time as this was his way of coping with the health challenges he faced as a child and adolescent. Aeon was diagnosed with sickle cell at a young age. Now he is even happier when he practices his sketching, because he knows it is a crucial skill to become a great animator. “This scholarship has changed my life in so many ways,” expressed Aeon.
Even more so, Aeon is grateful he will be able to finish a tertiary education program. He tried before, but with limited funds it had not been possible. Aeon sees education as a necessary tool to success and is happy to get another change to complete his tertiary education. “I feel good and I can’t even express how happy I am. It gets me up every morning.”
He is one of 19 students who received a scholarship to study animation. Aeon enjoys attending classes and interacting with his classmates with whom he can create the environment he thinks and sketches about when he is at home. “It feels like I am in a world alone,” he said, “but when I got to school it is different. There are like eight copies of me, the way how they see the world, what colors mean to them. I get to school early every morning!”
“The world and people would be pleasant if people got to do what they really wanted to do,” smiled Aeon. “Thank you Advance, continue reaching out to people in difficult situations.”
Aeon hopes to open his own studio in the future and create animated movies for children.
Advance is a five-year regional technical education strengthening program funded by USAID and implemented by FHI 360. In Jamaica, Advance works with the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica to strengthen degree programs in Agro-Processing & Business Management, and Health and Wellness Tourism; VTDI in Entertainment & Events Management and Digital Media; and the University of Technology in Fashion Styling & Image Consulting and Design & Technology.