Building a Community School for Impoverished Children in Jamaica
As our first project, we chose to raise funds to build a community school in an area of Jamaica where children might otherwise have little or no access to an education. Because of the overwhelming poverty throughout Jamaica, many parents cannot afford the books, uniforms and registration required for their children to attend even public schools. Some youngsters attend classes sporadically, depending on how much, if any, money is available, while others, particularly those from larger families, may not attend at all. One solution for families such as these is a community school – often sponsored by a church or missionaries – that charges only a nominal fee to attend. Unfortunately, those schools are few and far between, and they are often in extremely poor condition or too small to accommodate all of the children who need them.
Eight 4 World Hope worked through Food For The Poor to build a community school where disadvantaged children can learn basic life skills and get a fundamental education in a clean, safe, secure environment despite the challenges they face every day. The school we built includes a small kitchen to ensure that the children will receive a hot meal during the day, as well as sanitation facilities, which many do not have available at home. If you’d like to see how much these facilities mean to some children, click here. As an added bonus, the facility was constructed using local labor, helping other members of the community to improve their economic conditions and standard of living.
The School Construction Program
To best meet the needs of the children and families whom we are trying to help, Eight 4 World Hope chose to partner with Food For The Poor and its Jamaica School Construction Program. This program builds sturdy wooden schoolhouses using construction specifications that meet the Jamaica Ministry of Education’s requirements for a basic school in areas where no schools existed before or where the schools are simply old, rundown buildings and huts. Each school includes a classroom, kitchen, office, sanitation facilities, ceilings, interior painting, electrical wiring and fixtures, school furnishings and a wheelchair ramp.
We did it! The doors of the new Concord Sacred Heart Early Childhood Institute in Concord, St. Ann, Jamaica, opened in the fall of 2011, and four members of our group were on hand for the “official” dedication in February 2012.
Whether you made a donation, attended an event, purchased a raffle ticket, or supported us with your kind words and encouragement, THANK YOU for being a part of this exciting endeavor!