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Jamaica House Basic School benefits from Nelson Mandela Int'l Day

Published:Thursday | July 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Mathu Joyini (centre), South Africa's high commissioner to Jamaica, and Dr Arun Kashyap (right), resident representative for the United Nations Development Programme, watch over children colouring a Gleaner activity spread on Nelson Mandela International Day at the Jamaica House Basic School in St Andrew yesterday. - photos by Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

Yesterday, several Jamaicans were busy partaking of the various initiatives to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day.

One such initiative took place at the Jamaica House Basic School in St Andrew and was centred around the theme for Nelson Mandela Day, 'Take Action, Inspire Change and Make Every Day a Nelson Mandela Day'.

The project was organised by Crayons Count, an early-childhood development project that was started by Deika Morrison and her Do Good Jamaica initiative.

Volunteers from The Gleaner, Continental Baking Company (National) and Crayons Count spent the day doing several activities with the children, such as reading lessons, painting of a mural, playing with blocks and storytelling.

"The project today is geared towards the six steps to education. If you read about Nelson Mandela and his work, you would find that he was very focused on children and education. We decided that our 67 minutes of service was going to be spent helping kids in the basic school," Morrison told The Gleaner.

Morrison added that the purpose of the mural is to help create a safe atmosphere within the school.

"This is the work of the kids, as last week Thursday, we came here and had an art class with them. It is to give them a voice, enabling them to participate and when they pass it every day, they will see that their input really matters," Morrison added.

However, the project far exceeded the 67 minutes that were to be dedicated to doing good on Mandela Day, as participants were at the basic school for almost four hours.

"When people are passionate about giving back, they definitely exceed 67 minutes. People who love and enjoy children will certainly do more than 67 minutes," said Mathu Joyini, South Africa's high commissioner to Jamaica. "I hope to maintain and sustain the celebration of this day every year in Jamaica. I also hope it will begin to move from outside the corporate into the rural."