EU Sugar Transformation | Bright future for New Life Basic School
The many teaching aids adorning the walls are a reflection of the rich learning environment at New Life Basic School in Dunbeholden, St Catherine.
The school, which recently benefited from significant funding from the European Union for refurbishing and equipment, had been rundown almost to the point of being dilapidated.
"It's a great improvement. The floor was in very bad condition and the entire building was refurbished and new toilets installed. The walls had holes and these were repaired and the school was repainted," said the school's principal, Natesha Dyer.
"They built a play area and the kids are really enjoying the swing, see-saw and slide. The whole kitchen was refurbished, and they also brought us fans, a microwave, a toaster, a kettle, a blender, a fridge and a stove," added Dyer.
Having worked as a teacher before taking office as principal in April 2018, Dyer, who lives in the community, has an appreciation for the positive impact of the renovation beyond the school walls.
New desks and chairs, as well as the play area, are fully appreciated by the 14 students and staff, and the school has the capacity to accommodate an additional 30 students.
"Since the improvements, I have seen more interest in people registering their children here, with three new registrations already for the new school term in September," said Dyer.
The renewed interest by residents in New Life Basic School was evident on Labour Day when the community came out to help paint the equipment on the playground. The local tyre-repair operator donated some used tyres that were anchored to the play equipment, and the Sugar Company of Jamaica donated the paint.
Describing the brightly painted school as a source of pride for the community, Dyer explained that it continues to benefit also from the kindness of past students, board members and other individuals, as well as non-governmental organisations and state agencies.
According to Dyer, the refurbishment has given a new lease on life to New Life Basic School and has inspired residents to support it and call it their own.
The school community is grateful to the Sugar Transformation Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union for this game-changing funding that has helped their youngest and most vulnerable residents.