Target Reached in Record time
Having completed its 50 schools in 50 months project two years ahead of schedule, Food For The Poor Jamaica (FFPJ), is using the remaining time to build an additional 25 such schools. The first such project was completed in Spicy Hill, Trelawny, recently.
"We are very excited about this initiative," Marcia Hall Walker, social outreach manager at FFPJ, told The Gleaner, "When we came here months ago, we saw a school being housed in a community centre, which was not adequate for the programmes that were being introduced to the students, but today, their dream has become a reality, they are getting a new school.
"We had said 50 schools in 50 months, but three weeks ago, we completed our 50th school in a record time of 36 months and we have given the charge to build an additional 25, and this is the first of that number."
According to Samantha Mahfood, executive director of FFP Canada, the initiative was made possible through a donation of US$85,000 from Sunwing Travel Group, owners of Royalton White Sands through their charity Sunwing Foundation of Canada in partnership with Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation and FFP Canada.
Volunteers from the partnering organistions, as well as staff members of Royalton White Sands and Nexus Tours, gave support to FFPJ contractors between April 20 and 21, to complete the facility which consists of spacious classrooms, proper sanitation, an office, sick bay and kitchen, and will also include a playground for the September 2015 school term.
An elated Angela Williams, principal of the institution, says the new building will not only be a more comfortable environment for the 71 students and three teachers, but also allow the administration to put things in place to meet the Early Childhood Commission standard.
"We dreamed of this moment for so many years, but seeing it becoming a reality, I don't have words to express how I am feeling right now," said Williams, a 32-year veteran of the education system. It will make a great impact on the community."
Armando Pizzuti, general manager of Royalton White Sand, said the initiative will go a long way in empowering the future generation.
"The community was selected because our hotel is in Trelawny and it only made sense to build a school that would also benefit our employees who are living in this region," Pizzuti said, "It is an investment that is not going to stop right here. Building a school is an investment in Jamaica, in our children, but the biggest goal we could achieve is for one of these children to one day have my position at Royalton White Sands.