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JIS News

The Salt Savannah Primary and Infant School in South Eastern Clarendon is bouncing back from the ravages of Hurricane Ivan, through assistance from the Oxford Family (Oxfam) organization of London with a contribution of J$540,000.
In a JIS News interview Principal, Beverley Hall explains that the assistance involves the rehabilitation of the sanitary facilities including the construction of seven sanitary conveniences with a sewage system. Four of these will accommodate girls and three will accommodate male students.
The sanitary facilities have been complemented by the construction of a storage room and a base for water tanks as well as the provision of two 1,000-litre water tanks with fittings. The work also included the cleaning of debris from the school property.
“We are really happy for the work being done to reduce the impact of the displacement we have experienced here at the school, because of the hurricane. Rocky Point is one of those communities that was hardest hit and so any level of work which will minimize the disruptions to our schedule is greatly appreciated,” she says.
She emphasizes that the rehabilitation programme would enhance the work being done at the school to provide proper education for the 270 students. There are eight teachers on staff, three of whom are graduates of the institution.
Salt Savannah Primary was completed in 1952 on land provided by the Monymusk Sugar Company through negotiations with Sir Alexander Bustamante. The land was part of the Salt Savannah cane farms, which the school was named after. It was built to provide for the education of the children of the Rocky Point fishing village as well as children from a housing settlement, which was newly established, and adjacent districts.
Originally the school was supposed to accommodate 400 students from ages seven to 16, but as it became a feeder school to the new secondary schools, the age limit was changed to 12. Also the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture granted permission for an Infant Department to be added.
The school offers subjects including Language Arts, Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Religious Education, Art and Craft, Music, and Physical Education.
Over the years the institution has participated in a number of sporting events including football, netball and athletics. It has produced the well-known runner, Evadney McKenzie, who has represented Jamaica internationally on several occasions.
The school has also performed well in the national Festival of the Performing Arts competitions, which is hosted annually by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
In these competitions in 2002 and 2003, the school earned two bronze medals for performance in Speech. They have also received certificates and awards in Art and Craft and 4-H Club competitions.
Their most recent achievements include third prize in the ‘Lit Kids’ Art and Writing Competition conducted by the Education Ministry in 2003. The school placed third in the Science and Technology Essay Competition organized by the Scientific Research Council of Jamaica last year.
They also participate in Drug Awareness and Environment Protection Clubs and are in the process of re-establishing their yearlong displays, which were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan.
According to Ana Maria Miranda, Project Manager at Oxfam Jamaica, the group has been working in the island for over ten years, supporting local partners in development and emergency relief operations.
“After Hurricane Ivan, a team from Oxfam came to Jamaica to do an assessment, and an office was opened in Kingston for the time of emergency response operations which started on the 20th of September for three months. We are now finalising the implementation of our islandwide project,” she says.
She points out that Oxfam’s work focuses on public health protection, including the prevention of water related communicable disease outbreaks in target communities, through access to adequate water supply, good hygiene conditions, environmental sanitation and, rehabilitation of community centres and sanitary facilities in schools.
The programme is funded by United Kingdom (UK) based Department for International Development (DFID).
Oxfam has provided assistance to nine neighbouring towns in South Clarendon, including Portland Cottage, Lionel Town, Rocky Point, Mitchell Town, Water Lane, Alley, Long Wood, Rocky Settlement, and Gayle. Oxfam also assisted the communities of Hanna Town and S-Corner in Kingston, where a livelihood project was initiated and a clinic rehabilitated.