To help Sandals Resorts International continue to make a difference in the Caribbean, the Sandals Foundation was launched in March 2009 as a non-profit organization. The Foundation believe that the action of inspiring hope is a force that can move mountains.
In today’s pandemic world, the seemingly simplest of acts can provide huge benefits. To that end, as part of ongoing efforts to invest in the island’s education infrastructure and support the academic growth of students, the Sandals Foundation is constructing handwashing stations at twelve infant and primary schools across St. Ann, St. Mary, Westmoreland, and St. James.
The construction of the handwashing stations, which is valued at approximately US$22,000, is made possible due to support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a spirits company based in Austin, Texas, USA. In April, the company’s philanthropic arm, Love, Tito’s, donated a total of US$25,000 to the Sandals Foundation to give back to the island’s hospitality workers and communities affected by the pandemic.
Keeping in mind the COVID-19 safety requirements for schools, the Sandals Foundation is working to help the island’s learning institutions meet health, safety, and sanitation measures.
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, said upon reviewing the Ministry of Education’s manual for the reopening of schools published in May, the team reached out to a number of institutions within tourism-dependent communities to assess their needs.
“We support the government’s efforts to minimize the risks and spread of the coronavirus especially within our schools, so it was important for us to see how we could help make the process as smooth as possible.”
Through these handwashing stations and sanitation resources, Clarke continued, “we hope we will help promote best practices amongst students, parents, guardians, and teachers alike; create safer spaces for our young ones as they re-enter schools; and help ease the anxiety of everyone involved.”
In addition to the handwashing stations, plumbing and drainage infrastructure which will be erected at the entrance of schools and institutions will be provided with automatic hand soap dispensers, start-up hand soap, paper towels, signage to encourage proper handwashing, hand-held thermometers, and reusable masks for teachers and staff.
Benefiting schools in Westmoreland are West End Early Childhood Institution, Torrington Early Childhood Institution, West End Infant School, Culloden Infant School, Kings Infant and Primary School, and Whitehouse Early Childhood Institution.
Exchange All Age, Seville Golden Preschool, and Ocho Rios Primary School will benefit from the upgrades in St. Ann, while in St. Mary, Boscobel Primary and Infant School will see the new handwashing stations erected. Finally, the targeted schools in St. James are Leonora Morris Infant and Primary School and Whitehouse Basic School.
All costs associated with administration and management is supported by Sandals International so that 100% of every dollar donated goes directly towards funding impactful and meaningful initiatives within the key areas of Education, Community and Environment.