Digicel Foundation donates $20 million for repairs to Hurricane-damaged schools

News and Press Release
Originally published
KINGSTON, Nov.3 (JIS): The Ministry of Education has received a donation of $20 million from the Digicel Foundation to effect repairs to schools, which sustained extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Dean.

Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, made the presentation to Minister of Education, Andrew Holness yesterday (Nov. 2) at a brief ceremony held at the Ministry's National Heroes Circle office in Kingston.

Mr. Holness informed that 12 schools from three parishes have been selected to benefit from the donation. The beneficiary institutions are mainly primary and all-age with two high schools.

"The estimated cost to repair these 12 schools would be about $22 million so your donation will go a far way in bringing these schools back to a state of readiness for teaching and learning," he stated.

He said that the Ministry has "sufficiently dealt with" repairs to those schools that suffered minor damage, through a $5 million allocation from the government. "But it's the major damage that still give us a challenge," he pointed out, noting that these ranged from loss of roofs to complete destruction of buildings.

In the meantime, Mr. Holness indicated that the repair works should get underway or be completed by next month. "We hope that by December, all the schools would have either been completed or started. That is our target for repairs," he said.

He lauded Digicel for "playing its role as good corporate citizens and I encourage other companies in Jamaica to follow in the footsteps of Digicel."

Major General Neish, in his remarks, said that Digicel Foundation has made the support of education a priority in its programme to strengthen communities and foster community spirit in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.

He said the Foundation is pleased to make the donation, which is meant to address the discomfort and dislocation caused by the passing of the hurricane.

"The sooner our schools are brought up to full physical and infrastructural capacity, the better for all of us, and we pledge to continue our working relationship with the Ministry to ensure that our children have the best possible opportunity to learn, and thus to succeed in life," he stated.