Regardless of the constraints and challenges that have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, FFPC is grateful to have had the opportunity to complete St. Martin Primary and St. Martin Infant School in Jamaica with funds donated by the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation.
Having lost everything to a fire in October 1998, the school saw a decrease in student enrollment and a significant downgrade in quality. When the infant department was added in 2013, many primary classes were combined into one classroom space. This created additional challenges due to lack of space, which negatively affected the learning and teaching experience for both students and educators. Some classes were even forced to have lessons on the outdoor corridor, which brought on another set of challenges when it rained.
The school was also in dire need of new bathrooms, a resource centre where students could have access to computers, and a guidance counsellor’s office. Because of the sensitive cases being handled at the school, the guidance counsellor needed a private space to be able to hold her sessions, rather than in the staff room or a classroom where up until the new room was built, sessions would be conducted.
With thanks to its donors, the school was ultimately gifted with an entire new building with additional classrooms for the infant school, a playground, bathrooms, a guidance counselling office, kitchen, and a resource room.
“When we heard we were receiving an entire building and not just a few classrooms, we were over the moon.”
Said Mrs. Sylvia Cameron Lennon, Principal of St. Martin Primary and Infant School.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented classes from being held face-to-face, so sessions have been held online for the time being; however, the school is hoping to get clearance from the Ministry of Education to have physical classes.
“With your help, we now have adequate space to maintain social distancing. We have already started to place social distancing markers inside and outside of the buildings, and have also erected handwashing stands”.
Mr. Donald Baker, Vice Chairman of the school also added:
“I was on site from the ground-breaking to when the building was completed and handed over to us. It has been an amazing, amazing experience and I look forward to the day when all the children are using it.”
To continue with the excitement, FFPC is looking forward to beginning an additional two school projects in Jamaica this month: Goodwill Early Childhood Institute, which will also be supported by the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation, and Silverstone Basic. These two schools, similarly to St. Martin Primary and Infant School, will be undergoing upgrades to their infrastructure and the addition of more classrooms to create safe, clean, and spacious learning environments for students and teachers.
This work could not have been done without the generosity of our dedicated donors, and because of you, children have a safe and secure space to gain a quality education. Not even a pandemic can stand in the way of keeping the spirit alive in other communities across the country.
- On November 24, 2020