School Restoration

  • Education
  • Community Growth
  • Agriculture
  • Jamaica
This project is led by Scott Elliott, a Volunteer from Washington

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This project focuses on refurbishing our local primary school by installing modern and functional teaching infrastructure. We seek to improve ecological education by obtaining some basic materials, tools, and labor so that teachers can adequately teach and so that students can adequately learn. The school's (8) partition walls, (4) staff desks, (1) principal chair, and (4) staff chairs are extremely termite-ridden and barely functional. The school also needs (7) lengths of PVC piping to redirect roof water run-off to an area that will significantly reduce structural erosion of the school's foundation. Currently, the water drains onto an eroding stone wall, which will not support the school for much longer. Our plan is to direct the water to a water holding tank which overflows to a community stream. Grant funds will go towards replacing and obtaining these materials. Our organization seeks to address all of the top major problems that the 2016 Social Development Commission's (SDC) Priority Plan identified in our area and this project seeks to set us on the pathway to success. In order of high to low priority, the problems that the SDC identified were: Inadequate water supply, unemployment, frequent land slippage, need for a postal agency, lack of health center, low connectivity (poor internet, cable, and phone coverage), poor road infrastructure, streetlights needed in the community and at the schools, and a lack of a community center. Currently, the school serves as our organization's meeting space, but it suffers from severe structural damage as a result of improper roof water drainage and a lack of adequate teaching, administrative, garden, and kitchen spaces. By restoring the facilities at the school, the results of this project will lead to an increased ecological awareness, safety, communication, water security, and soil stability to members of our organization, local farmers, and school staff and students.

Our organization is a non-incorporated, non-governmental (NGO), Community-Based Organization (CBO) that has recorded weekly meeting minutes ever since it was formed and registered with the SDC in 2014. The Community Development Commission (CDC) acts as an umbrella organization for our organization. We were founded to bring focus to the environment, cooperation, responsiveness, leadership, training, participation, socio-economic wellness, and youth in our community. Our members meet every Wednesday at the school. Our organization has a consistent track record since its inception as collectively working to secure high quality environmental and health education that is built with resilient capacity. We work with primary school students during events, devotions, and 4-H activities. We have sponsored award ceremonies and contributed time, money, labor, knowledge, products, and guidance to students at the school. Local residents are active and encouraged to volunteer their time and labor to participate in activities that are aimed at improving the community and the school. The president of our organization is also the president of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the primary school, which means that the community and the school are closely linked. Although there are many farmers and farms in our community there are no active farming groups or organizations that are focused on farming. The main purpose of the farming element of this project is to organize farmers to work together for the benefit of both the community and the school.

With the presence of adequate teaching facilities, a functional plant nursery, and improvements to our weekly 4-H Friday ecology classes, this project will gain the capacity to persist indefinitely. This year in our first attempt at applying to the Ministry of Education and 4-H's parish-wide farm competition, we placed third. The encouragement from this recognition has led both staff and students to try again harder next year to place first. Potential 4-H Fridays that we have discussed to get us there include rabbit rearing, composting, garbage separation, plant identification, vegetable transplanting, furrowing, trash to treasure, and the construction of bio-swales, trash barriers, and terraces. By treating new partition walls, desks, and chairs with termite repellent, we will ensure that termite infestation will not return. It is our goal that the knowledge and enthusiasm that young students gain in our program will cause perennial and successive improvements for Jamaicans and their country at the business or entrepreneurial level. Therefore, it is critical to restore the infrastructure of the school and create education programs that foster the regeneration of healthy people and our environment, rather than solely sustaining them.

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