JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Members of the South Korean community in Jamaica joined forces with residents of Gordon Town, St. Andrew, to give the St. Martin De Porres Primary School a much needed facelift.
  • The volunteers painted the exterior walls of the school, injecting some bright yellow colour and installed new window frames, last weekend (July 5), as part of a day of community service.
  • For Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Kimo Lim, the project was a labour of love and a means of further promoting mutual understanding between the two countries.

Members of the South Korean community in Jamaica joined forces with residents of Gordon Town, St. Andrew, to give the St. Martin De Porres Primary School a much needed facelift.

The volunteers painted the exterior walls of the school, injecting some bright yellow colour and installed new window frames, last weekend (July 5), as part of a day of community service.

For Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Kimo Lim, the project was a labour of love and a means of further promoting mutual understanding between the two countries.

Mr. Lim said the Embassy is especially targeting educational facilities because of the level of need. “We learned that Jamaican educational facilities are in need, because of financial challenges, so the Korean Embassy initiated and supported this project,” Mr. Lim said.

“I believe education is the most important foundation for the country as well as for the individual.  We can help to put the beautiful smile on Jamaican children’s faces and I love that, and I hope that our Jamaican friends will be reminded that the Korean community is your friend and will be beside you,” he added.

Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, stopped by on his way to a funeral, to show his support.

Rev. Thwaites, who also preaches at the nearby St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church, praised the volunteers for their decision to lend a helping hand to the education sector.

“It’s a good example of exactly the kind of partnerships we need in education.  These people could have gone anywhere else in Jamaica, or in any other charitable area, in health, in security for their own purposes, and yet they have decided to give their time, their treasure and give their talent at the highest level,” the Minister said.

He expressed hope that the example set by the volunteers would be infectious, “and all of us would make gestures like this.”

In the meantime, Principal of the school, Fay Buchanan, was appreciative of the efforts by the Korean community.

“I think it will impact the moral of students, parents and teachers. It enhances the environment and the aesthetics, which is very important to the learning process, so I am very pleased and I am thankful to the Korean Ambassador and his personnel for this great job,” she said.

The link with the Korean Embassy was forged by Chairman of the school Board, Howard Findlator.

“I think it is an excellent move by the Korean Association here in Jamaica. Often, voluntary work is not forthcoming, so we are very happy that the Korean Embassy chose St Martin De Porres. To paint this institution is quite a cost and so it will go a far way in making the environment more acceptable for the children,” he said.

Mr. Findlator said the school has been receiving tremendous support from the community, especially from the Roman Catholic Church in Gordon Town, which has been providing financial and other support over the years.

“This school has served the community for many years and as such the community embraces the school and protects it and therefore we have no challenges as it relates to the support from the community in general,” he added.

Parent, Charmaine Melvern, who also participated in the beautification exercise, said the work was long overdue.

“I’m happy… because it’s a long time we wanted to paint it, we did not have the funds, so when we heard about these people coming to paint, we were happy,” she said.

The St. Martin de Porres Primary was established in 1968 and has a population of just over 300 students.