Gifts for Kitson Town Basic SchoolMonday, April 12, 2021
Two entities have reached out to struggling staff at Kitson Town Basic School in St Catherine with gifts of tablet computers and care packages valued over $200,000.
The gifts were donated by the Office of the Governor General and the Desnoes and Geddes Foundation after the Kitson Town Civic Committee made appeals on their behalf, through their 'Good Neighbour' project which seeks help for people and institutions in the community that have been severely impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, April 2, the GG's office responded to the staff of six, and two retired teachers with care packages, and followed up later with the tablets for the teaching staff, and a student from the neighbouring Kitson Town Primary School.
Speaking on Friday, April 9, at a handing-over ceremony held at the basic school, Principal Joy Sterling said the gesture was memorable.
“This is truly a blessing for us. Thank you for giving us such needy assistance, and we assure you that your donations will be put to fruitful use. We are grateful to know that we are important to you,” the principal told her audience.
Chairman of the committee, Garfield Angus, encouraged the teachers to continue doing “God's work” in educating the children, despite the “big challenge” that they have been facing since March 2019, with irregular salary payments, due mainly to loss of incomes by parents. He also called for deeper partnership with individuals and organisations to provide additional support to that school and other such institutions that are facing similar challenges.
“Come next school day, all the teachers here will no longer be using their cellular phones to conduct the online classes. They can now operate with efficiency, and offer improved and quality educational delivery to the children of Kitson Town. Indeed, throughout the process, the staff at King's House, and at the foundation, were very responsive, and they exercised urgency, and ensured a timely delivery of the items,” Angus told the small ceremony.
He said his group is “hopeful” that the responses from the two entities will motivate teachers towards greater educational success. He also expressed hope that other individuals and organisations will come on board and make a difference at the school, the other early childhood institutions in the community, and elsewhere.
Chairman of the St Catherine Parish Development Committee Bishop Junior Headlam, who delivered the keynote, said the leadership of the civic committee didn't just look at the situation facing the school and complain, or said “we are going to pray for you”, which is what church people do all the time.
“They went out, and they sought help, and through acts of kindness, gifts are now being provided for the school. Each of you must leave this place with a commitment to acts of kindness. It might be a friend, family, or strangers, make sure you are doing acts of kindness,” he said.
Headlam stressed that where kindness is lacking in communities, citizens will continue to see children going missing, women and men continue to be murdered, and families “disorganised and dysfunctional”.
“If each of us as Jamaicans would dig deep within our souls and do something to improve the quality of life for somebody else, we can see a transformation in our country,” Headlam reasoned.