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JIS News

Students and teachers at the Holiness Temple Basic School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, are now enjoying improved facilities with the recent refurbishing of the institution at a cost of approximately $200,000.
The project, which was financed by the Colombian community in Jamaica in collaboration with the Colombian Embassy, involved the painting and re-roofing of the school building, which was damaged by Hurricane Ivan last September.
Additionally, two computers, pencils and colouring books for the students, were handed over to the institution at a simple ceremony held on the school grounds on May 27, which was attended by members of the Colombian community, embassy officials, members of the school board, parents, teachers and students.
Councillor for the Lauriston Division, Natalie Neita-Headley, who represented the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Member of Parliament for East Central St. Catherine, K.D. Knight at the event, thanked the Colombians for addressing the needs of the students and teachers.
“This is a gift that will certainly make a difference in the lives of the people of this community. Our people have so much in common and there is an empathy that we share and should work to strengthen,” she said.
Cecilia Francis James, wife of the Colombian Ambassador, who spearheaded the fund raising activities, said that over 100 Colombians living in Jamaica contributed towards the project.
“We see the need to be generous to a country like Jamaica that has welcomed us so warmly. We are very happy to see that the children attending this school can have a better place where they can pursue their studies,” she said.
Guest Speaker, Ambassador of Colombia, Dr. Kent Francis James, said that the embassy was happy to assist with the improvement of the school and its facilities.
“We want to teach the young ones how to show love to others, especially for the Colombians to love Jamaicans and Jamaicans to love Colombians. That’s the only way we will learn to build a peaceful world and at the same time have a lovely environment,” he added.
Dr. James informed that the Embassy, in collaboration with the Jamaican government would be looking at the possibility of implementing a programme whereby young children could be taught Spanish in basic schools.
“The people and the government of Jamaica are in favour of students learning a second language and so we are willing to work towards that goal and we will begin to do our best to introduce a programme this year for the young ones to learn Spanish,” the Ambassador said.
Also at the ceremony were Education Officer, Marlene Forrester; Community Development Officer, Social Development Commission, Pat Spence; president of the Lauriston Citizens’ Association Audley Naine and Pastor of the Holiness Temple Church, Rev. Glenworth Walters.