Quick Step Primary School in St Elizabeth is now the beneficiary of a newly built and stocked library, courtesy of past students of the school, the Griffiths Brothers, through their US-based charity Pencils 4 Kids.
On Friday, community members, staff and other stakeholders watched the official commissioning of the library that the brothers say is not just for the school, but for the community as well.
Randy’s wife, Eksupar, whose roots originates from Thailand and is also a founding member of the organisation, told The Gleaner that although she is from a different background from her husband, both their parents were immigrants.
“It is something I enjoyed. I enjoy giving back and doing something positive with the resources that I have. I think it is also important to show our daughter that if you have the means to give back to those who need it, you should,” she said.
Commenting on the deliberate selection of books for the library, Eksupar said the organisation came up with a list of books that delved into Jamaica’s history and culture. She said it was also important for them to select books that feature children who look like Jamaican kids, so they can see faces that look just like them.
She said she is hoping the library will get children reading and broadening their minds as, since developing the scholarship programme, they have been seeing some grades that are not so great.
“So it’s obvious that they need more resources, physical resources like books, school supplies, maybe more instructional help or tutoring,” she points out.
GOV’T SUPPORT Randy, who was inspired by his mother’s philanthropy to start the charity, said he would like to see more input from the education ministry where the school is concerned.
Randy’s cry was echoed by his wife, who said the ‘higher heads’ need to step in.
“The classrooms need rehabilitation, the furniture is broken down and [its] looked as if no improvement has been done since it opened its doors in 1917 – 102 years ago,” she observed.
Eksupar said her goal is to form strong connections with the ministry, which would see the school receiving more support – both with the rehabilitation and a breakfast programme being reinstated.
“We want to reinstate the breakfast programme. Doing that, we hope it will allow the children to operate well with their minds and improve their attendance,” she said.
School principal Alicia Black said the construction of the library came at an opportune time.
“The National Standards curriculum encourages the development of students’ research skills and project-based learning. The library is hoped to open the windows to the world, inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner