Sandals Foundation continues to support students’ interest in reading

Students of the St Andrew Anglican Secondary, Constantine Methodist and Martin de Porres RC Primary schools

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • 3,773 books recently donated to 3 schools
  • To date 17,900 brand new books donated to schools across Grenada
  • Hands Across the Sea mission is to raise literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children

Sandals Foundation continues to facilitate literacy development among students, both in primary and secondary level by investing in the libraries of schools across the island.

A collaborative effort between the Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea’s Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) programme has donated 3,773 books to the libraries of 3 schools. St Andrew Anglican Secondary received 378; Constantine Methodist received 1,396, and Martin de Porres (Crochu) RC Primary School received 1,999. The books range from reading books for reluctant readers to teen and young adult series. The schools also benefited from a new library system to ensure the sustainability of the programme.

Ag District Education Officer, Kathy Ann James responsible for District 3 attended the handover at the St Andrew Anglican Secondary school library on Monday. Sandals LA Source Public Relations Manager, Deleon Forrester said this presentation brings the total books donated to 17,900.

Forrester reminded them of the importance of maximising the opportunity afforded to them to enhance their literacy skills. “Literacy is the fundamental of every success that you will experience in your lifetime. Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea are very happy to continue to inspire the success of 32 schools in Grenada. So far we have been able to give 17,900 brand new books to schools across Grenada.”

Dianne Abel-Jeffrey, Principal of SAASS, was extremely grateful to both the Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea for their collaborative effort. “We are indebted to both Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea. We are very pleased with what we have been getting throughout the years, as we know reading is an essential activity for the success of students. The ability to read and write doesn’t develop naturally without careful planning and instruction. We need to have the books and regular active interaction with print, and that is what both organisations are giving to us.”

A release from the foundation stated that since 2007, Hands Across the Sea had sent over 247,000 brand new, asked-for books to the Eastern Caribbean from the world’s best publishers, with a mission of transforming the literary landscape of the countries.

Sandals Foundation Executive Director, Heidi Clarke said the continued partnership to provide reading materials to children in the Caribbean is in line with the foundation’s mission to see improved literacy levels across the region. “We want to someday have a 100% literacy rate among our children across the Caribbean and the only way to ensure that is to provide them with the tools needed to build their literacy skills from a very early stage. Our partnership with Hands Across the Sea is evidence of our continued commitment to education in the region, and we hope that the books delivered to these schools will help to encourage children to read more.”

Representatives from the receiving schools, the Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea

Harriet and Tom Linskey founded Hands Across the Sea and have made it their mission to raise the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children. With the support of governments, the OECS, the US Peace Corps, corporate and private donors, Hands has been able to raise funds to either create libraries from scratch or to strengthen already existing libraries.

Local Operations Manager for Hands Across the Sea, Olivia Phillip spoke of her organisation’s extensive work throughout the region. “Over the past 10 years, Hands Across the Sea has sent 37,940 books thus reaching 16,770 children in Grenada. In 2017 with the patronage of the Sandals Foundation, Hands Across the Sea has shipped 6,211 brand new books reaching 1,712 students. I take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to the Sandals Foundation for their continued support.”

The release also noted that the partnership is now able to offer Remedial Reading Kits, equipped with all the tools and all materials teachers will need to assist children who need that extra push to read and write at their grade level.

This ongoing partnership is in keeping with the foundation’s mission to support educational development in the Caribbean particularly the islands of Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

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