Sandals Foundation spends US$54m on projects since inception

Observer West reporter

Thursday, January 03, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Director of Programmes at Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, has disclosed that over the past nine years the foundation has spent more than US$54million on projects and programmes, which has positively impacted over 750, 000 people in the Caribbean region.

“Next [this] year we celebrate our 10th anniversary and we are very proud of how far we have come, but we feel for us this is only the beginning,” Clarke said. “We are committed… Sandals Resorts have a very positive impact on this region now and always.”

Among the new projects she announced to come on stream this year is a swimming school.

“We are excited about 2019, we will be launching Jamaica's first in-sea swim school along with Alligator Head Foundation, we will be working with Stand Up Jamaican to have education in three correctional institutions here (Jamaica), we will be working alongside Coco Cola and the National Education Trust to look at water in schools. And we are also working with Real Madrid Foundation, Beaches Resort for football development and capacity building for local football coaches. It's an exciting year ahead of us,” Clarke said.

Clarke, who was making a presentation at a recent business luncheon, put on by Sandals International chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart at the Sandals Montego Bay Conference room, revealed that “over the last nine years we have been able to impact over 160,000 children working with over 500 schools”.

“And we do this by building their infrastructure, looking at their technology, training teachers and building their capacity in areas of literacy, mathematics and environmental science. I am very pleased that some of the biggest projects here for us are building three schools in the early childhood sector, one of which we opened at West End, one of which the honourable prime minister was the minister of education at that time; Whitehouse, Culloden, and we also have been running an early childhood intervention called Projects Pro, impacting over 250 children,” the Sandals Foundation director of programmes said.

She also highlighted the impact that the foundation has been having on health and the environment.

“Great Shape brings in over 450 volunteers a year to offer free dental and eye care to residents who would otherwise not be able to access this,” she remarked.

“Over 250,000 lives here in Jamaica depend on our coastal resources and they are extremely valuable to us and we at the Sandals Foundation manage two of the 18 declared marine sanctuaries here in Jamaica, and one of them has just become the first rotating sanctuary.”

Clarke also noted that the foundation helps to fund “both in cash and in kind” five other sanctuaries here, and “we are hoping that we can continue to address the challenges of local fishermen”.

Clarke hailed the various partners who assisted in undertaking the projects.

“Nothing that we do happens without incredible partners, partners from Government who work alongside us to reach national agendas; from our international donors, from our travel partners, from our team members who are the eyes and ears of our community, and also to our many guests who not only help to finance the foundation, but also who get out and volunteer their time and donate in kind,” she explained.

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