Unfortunately, many of Jamaica’s basic schools are not compliant with the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Commission (ECC) standards and are under threat of closure.
Food For the Poor (FFTP), a US-based international relief and development charity, which feeds 2 million poor persons daily, has brought their skills to help. Their Christian relief programs and projects are helping children and the poorest of the poor by providing food, housing, health care, education, water projects, emergency relief and micro-enterprise assistance in the Caribbean and Latin America. FFTP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s ECC and through partnerships with private sector entities for funding, has over the years, provided many of these schools with new physical plants to bring them up to standard, while providing the teachers with a better facility to extend instruction and students a healthy environment to receive learning.
Last Saturday, a friend was involved in one of these projects, to build a new school, Alexandra Hope, which is being built by Scotia Volunteers and Food for the Poor is a combination of two previous basic schools which never had a home after they were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan several years ago. The students of one school were previously studying in an unfinished changing room of a community complex, and those of the other school were in the cellar of one principal's home.
Education and children are primary focus areas of the Scotia Bank's community service policy. This volunteer initiative had approximately 80 bankers erecting the school within 2 days, sometimes in the pouring rain. Food For the Poor undertook pre-project activities -- the foundations and set preliminary plumbing and electrical lines. In one day, Scotia Volunteers established the structure, painted the school, and established a vegetable garden.
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