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Basil Charles Foundation assists with Early Childhood Education

Basil Charles Foundation assists with Early Childhood Education

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Basil Charles Educational Foundation is expanding its support towards Education by investing in Early Childhood Education.{{more}}

On Tuesday, March 1, the Foundation distributed 204 cots to 14 pre-schools throughout the state. The cots were bought at a cost of US$5,200.

Prior to doing so, the Foundation had a presentation ceremony at Basil’s Bar in the Cobblestone building, where the programme was outlined. The Foundation’s support for Early Childhood Education also includes a feeding programme, donations such as fans, refrigerators and stoves, as well as plans to repair pre-schools. From March 24, the Foundation will be commencing a programme to educate pre-school teachers about how to help parents, especially younger parents, on how to become better parents.

Basil Charles, Chairman of the Basil Charles Educational Foundation, who was on hand to witness the ceremony, said following the passage of Hurricane Tomas, his Foundation improved pre-schools at Troumaca, Sandy Bay, Biabou, Chauncey, Calliaqua and Gomea.

He said during the visits to these institutions to assess the damage done by the hurricane, representatives of the Foundation discovered that 60 per cent of the space was taken up by makeshift cots and beds. Charles said upon this observation, the decision was made to source a better means of addressing the problem.

With the new cots, which afford greater flexibility when in use and while being stored, the pre-schools supported can now utilise 95 per cent of the space in the buildings that they operate from, instead of 40 percent.

Charles said sometimes many charities give money, but they do not know what the financial resources are used for. As a result, he said representatives of the Foundation have taken a hands-on approach and have visited many pre-schools across St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We decided we would do a few things. We would try to improve them, help them improve the things they have in the pre-school, the feeding programme which we feel was not the best feeding programme,” said Charles.

To accomplish this task, Charles said his foundation bought nutritional foods for the pre-schoolers to improve their dietary intake and develop better eating habits. To this end, the Foundation supplies milk, cereal, corn flakes, and healthy grains.

“We find in some of these areas, you know, the kids come to these pre-schools with literally corn curls and things like that. If you teach kids how to eat healthy and teach the parents how to get them to eat healthy, they would eat healthy all the time,” said Charles.

“In our country, we all know we have lots of high blood pressure and things like that. I think it’s all to do with our unhealthy habits eating junk foods that are imported. If you look at all our centenarians today, [they] are people who have been eating healthy from the country side, all the time,” said Charles, adding: “When last we hear a centenarian from the city?”

Frederick Stephenson, Member of Parliament for South Windward, said when he was told of the Foundation’s efforts in purchasing the cots, he immediately assisted in getting a 100 percent waiver on the duties which were to be paid.

He expressed thanks to the Basil Charles Educational Foundation for the “tremendous” work that it has been doing in the field of Education, especially with Early Childhood Education.

Stephenson disclosed that the pre-school at Biabou is not in the most conducive place for Early Childhood Development, and he has already started discussions with the Minister of Education to have a new one built on the grounds at the Biabou Methodist School. He used the opportunity to appeal to the Foundation to assist in building a new modern pre-school there.

Gwenneth Cambridge, Education Officer with responsibility for Early Childhood Education, said the Ministry of Education welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Basil Charles Educational Foundation. She said at present there are over 120 pre-schools and day care centres that are operated by private owners in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, with nine run by Government.

Cambridge stated that the Government has a policy in place to pursue universal Early Childhood Education, but it is unable to do everything on its own, and needs other persons and organizations to partner with it.

Remarks were also delivered by Rosita Snagg, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Mobilization. Snagg, expressing appreciation for the support given by the Basil Charles Foundation, said: “There aren’t many times when we get back so much from our own.”

“Often times we go about begging, asking persons, and then we get a little drip, but I want to really thank Mr. Basil Charles, who has not just given us a drip, but a barrel,” said Snagg. “Our barrel today is really overflowing for our children, our pre-schoolers.”

The presentation was attended by other members of the board of the Basil Charles Educational Foundation, staff of the Community Development Division and Gender Affairs, and pre-school co-ordinators. (HN)