Just days before the celebration of Christmas on December 25, the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) extended its philanthropic arm, donating a total of $510,000 to three institutions that cater to children.
They include the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Best Care Special Education School and the Wareika Hill Basic School.
Managing Director of the EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, tells JIS News that the institutions are deserving of the donation, as they are responsible for some of the most vulnerable children in the country, especially now that they are faced with many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She says that over the years, EXIM Bank has built a relationship with all three schools, making them all “dear to our hearts”.
“Even though we are government, our hearts are bigger than our gifts and we want to make sure that we take the time to be thankful for what we’ve been given and to share it with the community,” Ms. Bell shares.
She points out that the entity’s corporate services policy has a strong “leaning towards children”, hence there is a focus on helping children across the island.
On December 22, all three beneficiaries were invited to EXIM Bank’s Caroling in the Courtyard event at their offices on Hope Road in Kingston, where the cheques were handed over.
During the event, guests were captivated by the beautiful singing and playing of musical instruments by the students from the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who performed a number of Christmas carols.
Vice Principal of the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Sherine Gordon, tells JIS News that she is thankful for the contribution that EXIM Bank has been making to the institution over the years.
She informs that the recent donation, which includes a cheque valued at $310,000, along with five tablets with one year’s supply of data, will enhance the teaching and learning experience at the school.
“Many of our students are without personal devices and data. You have some of them with devices, but without data. So, it was so good when I heard devices with data for a year,” Ms. Gordon says.
According to her, the school has a population of 130 students and is the only one of its kind in Jamaica.
“We are hoping to use some of the money to assist other students who are without data and purchase assistive technology that will help the students who are blind,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Principal of the Best Care Special Education School in Kingston, Sharita Brock-Lewin, tells JIS News that she is happy to be among the schools that received the donation.
The school, which is operated by the Best Care Foundation and caters to children diagnosed with mild to severe intellectual and physical disabilities, received a donation of $30,000 towards its annual fundraiser.
“This money, for us, will help in many ways. It will help with our operational costs and our programmes that we have to offer,” Mrs. Brock-Lewin informs.
High praise is also being heaped on EXIM Bank by the Principal of the Wareika Hill Basic School, Sandra Green-Shaw, who says she is “very grateful and thankful for the donation”.
She says the school, which has a small population, is required to put in place the necessary measures that are needed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, before being allowed to reopen.
“We will be using this donation to put in more handwash stations, refurbishing of the school and debushing,” Mrs. Green-Shaw points out.
The Wareika Hill Basic School received $170,000 towards its restoration project from the EXIM Bank.
EXIM Bank is Jamaica’s premier trade financing institution and the Caribbean’s first export-import bank. It is not only committed to developing the productive sector and contributing to national development but also to developing the youth of the country and giving back to communities islandwide.