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Waldensia Primary needs proper toilets

Published:Saturday | May 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Waldensia Primary School in Sherwood Content in rural Trelawny is in dire need of proper sanitary facilities for its pupil population.

On Tuesday, Digicel staff representing its foundation arm visited the school for its annual read Across Jamaica exercise and had one-on-one reading sessions with students across the grades.

Following the reading segment, the school's principal, Dwight Berry, expressed his gratitude to Digicel for having chosen his school to share quality time with the students.

In an interview, Berry said that the 100 students were still using pit latrines. He said he was appealing to corporate Jamaica to offer some assistance in constructing modern toilet facilities. This project, he said, was estimated to cost approximately $4 million.

Joy Clark, Digicel's head of sales for western and central Jamaica, said Digicel Foundation would look at ways to replace the existing pit facilities. She added that they were now examining a request for assistance with constructing the toilets.

"Our main concern now is for the students to cease using pit latrines and start using more modern facilities. Digicel has been supporting us over the years, and we hope that they will be a part of this journey," said Berry.

seeking sponsorship

He said they are currently seeking sponsorship and have made contact with some businesses within the school's environs, as well as the Usain Bolt Foundation. "We are hoping that by the end of the calendar year, the facilities will be up. We are hoping to break ground for this project on Labour Day, May 23.

Incidentally, Sherwood is the district where World Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt was raised, and the Waldensia Primary School is also his alma mater.

So far, Digicel has outfitted the school with a reading and computer lab, but recently, thieves stole the equipment and Clark said they were now considering replacing them.

Chairman of the school board, Edgar Harrison, expressed appreciation on behalf of the school family to Digicel for its continued support, describing it as a partnership between the two entities. "Digicel is one of the biggest corporate sponsors in Jamaica, particularly in sports and education."

Berry said the reading exercise was in keeping with their belief that they should help the students to learn to read so they can read to learn. "We want to take the children to a level where they can read and gather information. Eventually when they leave this school, they should be better able to read independently as they move on to high schools."