The Sandals Foundation, the non – profit arm of Sandals Resorts, has come on board to provide the Ministry of Education with resources needed to continue the assessment and intervention programme of the School for the Deaf. The donation, valued at just over US$11,000/EC$28,000 continues the Foundation’s commitment to supporting educational advancement across the Caribbean.
The donation includes a portable audiometer, literature and language resources, internationally standardized assessment tests, Kindles and an LCD Projector. Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, said it is critical that no child is left behind, especially those with special needs and disabilities who already face multiple challenges.
“Assessment is critical in providing teachers and caregivers with the information needed to plan the best way forward to assist children with disabilities. The provision of the right resources to test and accommodate learning for children with special needs increases their access to a better education, which is why we are very pleased to support the Ministry of Education in ensuring that the school has all that is needed to provide these children with equal opportunity for a successful future,” Clarke said.
Teachers of the School for the Deaf are excited and grateful for their new up to date tools which will make their work even more efficient; “The various forms of assessments we now have thanks to the Sandals Foundation will enable us to zero in on specific problems our students may have whether it be their functional auditory skills, speech perception, comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation or signing. We can then analyze the results of these new tests and work from there to improve each child’s performance,” expressed Michelle Brathwaite, Principal of the School for the Deaf.
Through the Special Education Desk (SEND) Programme, the Ministry of Education has placed a special interest in sourcing assistance for special needs children on the island. There are currently eleven schools participating in the programme which is aimed at identifying and providing the right learning environment for children with special needs.
Brathwaite continued, “We express our sincere thanks to the Sandals Foundation for acceptance of this project proposal for early screening and intervention for the deaf and seeing this as fundamental as you highlighted in your 2018 report; an investment in Education is an investment in the future- it provides both children and adults with the tools they need to create better outcomes for themselves and their families; this is integral in creating the type of society we dream of in the region.”
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Kevin Andall commended the region-wide reach of the Sandals Foundation; “We recognize your generosity and your commitment not only in Grenada but right across the region. Every Ministry of Education does a lot but critical to our functioning is engaging partners to support us in our commitment to our students. I believe, once we provide quality education we will equip our people to ultimately be globally competitive.”
Equally impressed and thankful are the parents of hearing-impaired children; “Thank you to Sandals Foundation and all the organizations here in Grenada who continue to support deaf education, because of your support our children have a voice and are able to receive the opportunities they rightfully deserve,” Florence Holmes, parent of a hearing-impaired child.
For the past decade, the Sandals Foundation has worked with education ministries and institutions across the Caribbean to improve the educational opportunities of children. The Foundation has provided resources to schools, improved infrastructure, conducted and funded capacity building workshops for teachers and provided full scholarships for deserving students.