JIS News

A new basic school, constructed at a cost of more than $9.6 million, was officially opened on Thursday (Sept. 28) in Montpelier, South Manchester.
The project, which involved the construction of a three-classroom building with sanitary facilities and a sick bay, was funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Digicel Foundation. Alpart bauxite company donated the land and helped with the excavation works.
Some 25 students from Montpelier and the surrounding communities of Guava River and Pimento Hill, are expected to benefit from the project.
General Manager for JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, in her remarks at the opening ceremony, noted that this was the second project being undertaken with Digicel Foundation, with the first being the construction of the Lake’s Pen Basic School in St. Catherine in 2004. She encouraged other private sector entities to partner with JSIF to undertake projects to benefit the less fortunate in the society. “I challenge other corporate entities to come on board and do likewise as the experience of 10 years of operations that JSIF has can make things so much easier in terms of actual project implementation,” she noted.
Mrs. Gillings also commended the community’s participation in the project. “Community participation has always been a defining feature of JSIF’s projects and we can attest to the fact that it is critical to the maintenance and sustainability of community infrastructure and ultimately, it is the most effective way of safeguarding community investment,” she stated.
Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, said that the Foundation has completed some 17 projects since it started operations two years ago.
“We are proud of this”, he said, adding that, “we have learnt a lot from the partnership with JSIF, and we hope to replicate this sort of approach on other projects.”
He advised communities in need of assistance to undertake similar projects, “to go online or maybe visit a local Digicel office and get the (required) forms, fill them out, submit them and you are well on your way.”
Member of Parliament, Michael Peart, for his part, commended the many persons and organizations involved in the project.

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