Six schools in St. James and Hanover have benefited from a donation of much-needed educational supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), valued at US $5,000, by three American teenagers.
The supplies, which include hand sanitisers, masks, face shields, gloves, books, pencils, crayons, and other stationery supplies, were handed over to St. James Preparatory, Providence Basic, and Farm, Glendevon and Goodwill Primary and Infant schools in St. James, and the Bethel Primary and Infant School in Hanover.
The donation was spearheaded by 16-year-old Aditya Shrinivasan, an 11th-grade student at Evergreen Valley High School in California, through his charity organisation, Help4friends.
Aditya tells JIS News that he received support from 17-year-old Meha Gaba, who runs the Ayuda Foundation and 18-year-old Rahil Kapadia, who operates Face Shields Against Corona.
Aditya has no Jamaican roots but says he recognises the economic challenges faced by many families globally due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and wanted to give back to as many students as he could.
He shares that by way of a family friend, he got wind of the back-to-school needs of Jamaican students and jumped at the opportunity to provide support.
“With my organisation, Help4friends, we decided to start over the summer to gather a list of supplies these schools needed and find a way to get them into Jamaica,” he says.
“Rahil helped with the face shields and Meha helped with the masks and together …we gathered all kinds of school supplies,” Aditya tells JIS News.
The 16-year-old says he is pleased to be able to provide the well-needed safety items and educational supplies to children in Jamaica.
For Rahil, who donated 1,800 face shields, he says his desire is to help combat the pandemic in any way that he can.
“Meha and Aditya reached out to say they were doing this and asked if I could donate face shields to the schools in Jamaica and I was like sure. When you do give the shields there’s a huge sense of gratitude to be doing something to help combat this pandemic,” he says.
Meanwhile, the administrations of the beneficiary schools say they are grateful for the donation.
Principal of St. James Preparatory, Jean James, tells JIS News that the supplies are timely and will serve both students and staff well.
“We are very happy to have received some well-needed articles from Aditya, Meha and Rahil, and we are really grateful and appreciative, and we thank them very much on behalf of the school body,” she says.
An elated Principal of Farm Primary and Infant School, Richard Miller, tells JIS News that the stationery supplies will be distributed to students with the greatest need.
“We are happy that Farm Primary was selected to be a beneficiary of this donation of school supplies and other materials, which will come in handy. It has really been a challenge to keep up with the effects of the pandemic, and so these donations will go a far way in helping students get back on track,” he says.
Principal of Glendevon Primary and Infant School, Audrey Lee Peynado, is also thanking the donors for looking out for the safety and well-being of her students.
“We are, indeed, elated and grateful to the students, who have partnered with us as we are going through the pandemic, and anything we get… to keep our children safe, will benefit our students, teachers, and entire staff,” she notes.
Principal of Goodwill Primary, Camille Hoarde, says that the items have come in handy, particularly the masks.