The smiles of children at the Albion Primary School in Manchester brightened recently as they received new classroom furniture - desks, chairs, books and whiteboards - and other educational resources to improve their learning environment.
The resources were provided by The Jarrett Foundation, a charity organisation founded and operated by second- and third-generation Jamaicans living in the United Kingdom.
They were assisted by representatives from the Jamaica National Foundation, the charity arm of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), and the JNBS subsidiary, JN Money Services Limited (JNMS), which operates the popular brand JN Money Transfer.
"Our team members have been travelling across the island since February, and we have already visited some 27 schools and other institutions, delivering sundry educational resources from a 40-ft container," Pearl Jarrett, chief executive officer and founder of The Jarrett Foundation, explained.
She noted that Albion was selected based on a "needs assessment" by JNMS, which itself has been engaged in school improvement through the Jamaica Partnership for Education (JPE) initiative, a project which is assisting the Government to eradicate illiteracy in primary schools by 2015.
Gabriel Heron, marketing and business development manager at JNMS, who was present at the recent handover, said although Albion has improved its performance significantly, there were obvious gaps which the school needed assistance to fill and maintain its achievements.
"The school has made significant improvements in the past six years, in terms of its literacy and numeracy; however, the small plant which houses the school has been coming under strain from the growing population. Therefore, we wanted to assist them to sustain the educational gains they have been making by giving them additional tools."
"We have been facing a shortage of furniture and space to comfortably educate our 225 students for some time now," principal Paulette Chedda revealed. "We even transformed what was our resource centre into a small classroom for children with special needs, and found creative ways of repairing and using old desks and chairs."
However, through the efforts of The Jarrett Foundation and the JN team, the school is now the proud owner of new desks and chairs, books and a host of other educational resources.
Head boy Ojane Forbes expressed appreciation on behalf of the school, stating, "I am extremely grateful to everyone who journeyed to Albion to deliver these furniture and learning resources to our school. And, we thank the drivers and escorts who brought our special guests here, today." A very articulate student, he praised the Jarrett Foundation and Jamaica National Building Society for their philanthropy.
Already, students at Albion anticipate that the new resources will help to improve their grades.
"As head boy, I promise that all the boys and girls at Albion Primary will take very good care of these resources, and I will personally make sure that the 20 desks get safely to my classroom, grade six, so that my classmates and I will be more comfortable and achieve excellent results in the GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test)," young Ojane told the group, who all erupted in laughter.
"I place on record our profound appreciation to JN Money Services and The Jarrett Foundation for their benevolence. Thank you," the head boy declared.
Full Caption: Dominic Plummer, a grade-two student at the Albion Primary School in Manchester, has the attention of (from left) Gabriel Heron, marketing and business development manager, JN Money Services Limited; The Jarrett Foundation's local representative, Craig Larmond; and chief executive officer of The Jarrett Foundation, Pearl Jarrett, as he reads from one of several books which, along with learning aids, equipment and furniture were donated to the school by The Jarrett Foundation recently.