Children in schools across T&T have been asked to donate non-perishable food items to assist persons from The Bahamas who have been displaced by Hurricane Dorian.
The relief effort which is being coordinated by the Ministry of Education will span a period of two weeks from September 16 to 27.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s head office in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia appealed to students to play their part.
Titled the National Schools Bahamas Disaster Relief Project, Garcia said it will be a two-fold initiative: “The first step would be educating our children in schools in T&T from the early childhood sector through to primary, secondary and even tertiary levels on natural disasters and its effects, and also, what good citizenship means and the need to look after those in less fortunate circumstances.”
Garcia said the donated items would be collected by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) for shipment to the Bahamas.
Permanent Secretary Lenore Baptiste-Simmons is liaising with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs to ensure proper coordination of the effort.
Garcia said, “We are asking all our teachers, principals and parents and in particular our students, to play their part in the effort to assist the children of the Bahamas during this time of great need.”
But Garcia made it clear the initiative does not involve taking in students from the Bahamas affected by Dorian, as was done for Dominica, at least for now, “That is not part of this initiative. But of course, if that becomes a necessity, we will have discussions to see how best we can facilitate,” he said.
In September 2017, the ministry welcomed Dominican students after the island was decimated by Hurricane Maria.
At the time, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley encouraged locals to open their “homes, pots and schools” to accommodate displaced primary and secondary school students from the hurricane-ravaged Dominica, so their education would not suffer.