Fifteen schools in St. James, Trelawny and Kingston, and three health institutions in Western Jamaica are the latest beneficiaries of gifts from the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee.
The gift comprised medical assistance scholarships, tablets and laptop computers, valued at US$120,000.
Cornwall Regional Hospital, Falmouth Hospital and the Noel Holmes Hospital received well-needed oxygen valued at US$70,000.00.
Chairman of the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, Dr. Yvonne Smith, said the oxygen was donated to the hospitals in July to assist with the shortage that they were experiencing at that time.
She further pointed out that her organisation had distributed 131 tablets and 26 laptop computers to 15 educational institutions, of which 13 are in St. James, one in Trelawny and one in Kingston.
Among those receiving tablets and laptops were Adelphi Primary School, Adelphi Gardens Basic School, Goodwill Primary School, Sudbury All-Age School, Barrett Town All-Age School, Dumfries All-Age School, Muschett High School, Cornwall College, and the University of the West Indies.
Dr. Smith said the package of tablets and laptop computers is a joint project undertaken by the Atlanta Sister Cities Committee, in association with the Victoria House Foundation, which is headquartered in Washington DC.
She pointed out that this joint effort was geared towards advancing education through technology in public schools within Montego Bay and its environs.
Dr. Smith argued that the donation was timely, given the widespread use of virtual learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on developing countries.
She said that both associations deemed it a moral responsibility to contribute to nation-building and reiterated that they are committed to preserving the future of Jamaica through the social and academic development of the youth.
Dr. Smith pointed out that this was the first time that the two non-profit organisations were partnering to support the drive to enhance education in Jamaica.
She said that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Victoria House, McFarlane Okonta, who secured the laptop computers, will be working closely with the schools to provide technical support and maintenance of the equipment.
Dr. Smith noted that her organisation has provided five scholarships valued at US$2,000 each to two medical students at the University of the West Indies. The recipients are Husani Hogg and Rihana Morrison.
A further three scholarships valued at US$500 each, have been given to Shaka’rah Christie, student at St. James High School, who received the Vin Martin Memorial Scholarship, in honour of the late Vin Martin who served as Chairman of The Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee and Jamaica’s Honorary Consul to Atlanta; Loriean Houslin and Tiandra Brady, both of Montego Bay High School.
The Montego Bay Atlanta Sister Cities Committee has established relations between both Cities for almost 50 years. Their signature health mission, which was renamed in honour of Mr. Martin, has contributed more than US$2 million in medicines and medical supplies to Montego Bay for more than 15 years.
Each year, its health mission visits Montego Bay to deliver healthcare along with medication and medical supplies to hundreds of citizens. The annual health mission lasts for one week.