Two American non-profit organisations giving back to Jamaica’s second city
Fifteen schools in St James and three health institutions in Western Jamaica are the latest beneficiaries of gifts from the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, which is an American non-profit organisation.
The gift comprises medical assistance scholarships, tablets, and laptop computers valued at US$120,000. The Cornwall Regional Hospital, Falmouth Hospital and the Noel Holmes Hospital received well-needed oxygen value at US$70,000.
Dr Yvonne Smith, chairman of The Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, explains that the supply of oxygen was donated to the hospitals in July to assist with the severe shortage that they were experiencing at that time.
Smith said her organsiation distributed 131 tablets and 26 laptop computers to 15 education institutions, of which 13 are in St James; one in Trelawny and one in Kingston.
Among those receiving tablets and laptops are Adelphi Primary School, Adelphi Garden Basic School, Goodwill Primary School, Sudbury All-Age School, Barrett Town All-Age School, Dumfries All-Age School, Muchette High School, Cornwall College, and the University of the West Indies.
Joint project undertaking with Victoria House Foundation
Smith also explains that the package of tablets and laptop computers is a joint project undertaking by The Atlanta Sister Cities Committee in association with the Victoria House Foundation, which is headquarters in Washington, DC. According to the Atlanta Sister Cities committee chairperson, this joint effort was geared towards advancing education through technology in public schools within Montego Bay and its environs.
Smith states that the donations are timely, given the widespread use of virtual learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on the developing countries. She points out that both associations deemed it a moral responsibility to contribute to nation-building, reiterating her organisation’s commitment to preserving the future of Jamaica through the social and academic development of the youth.
Smith remarks that this was the first time that the two non-profit organisations were partnering to support the drive to enhance education in Jamaica as it was well needed at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She advises that the CEO of Victoria House McFarlane Okonta, who secured the laptop computers, will be working closely with the schools to provide technical support and maintenance of the equipment.
RELATIONSHIPS ESTABLISHED BETWEEN CITIES
She went on to state that her organisation has provided five scholarships valued at US$2,000 each to two medical students at the University of the West Indies. The recipients are Husani Hogg and Rihana Morrison.
A further three scholarships valued at US$500 each have been given for Shaka’rah Christe, a student at St James High School, who received the Vin Martin Memorial Scholarship in honour of the late Vin Martin, who served as chairman of The Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee and Jamaica’s Honourary Counsel to Atlanta. Martin passed away on July 23, 2014. The other two scholarships went to Loriean Houslin and Tiandra Brady, both of Montego Bay High School.
The Montego Bay Atlanta Sister Cities has established relationships between both cities for almost 50 years. The non-profit organisation’s signature health mission, which was renamed in honour of the late Vin Martin has contributed more than US$2 million in medicines and medical supplies to that city for over 15 years.
Each year its health mission visits Montego Bay to deliver health care along with medication and medical supplies to hundreds of citizens. The annual health mission lasts for one week.