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Jan 31, 2005

Memorandum signed with U.S. university

Story Picture“Make Life better for Our People” that is what the community based organisation HANDS Belize hopes will be achieved through a working relationship with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. HANDS Belize President and Stann Creek West area representative, Rodwell Ferguson, says the organisation which stands for Help, Assistance, Needs, Development and Service is a non profit group formed by a team of Belizeans in Stann Creek West that have committed to improve the lives of children through education and health. This morning a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two partners. Following the ceremony, both Ferguson and U.M.E.S. president Thelma Armstrong spoke with News 5.

Dr. Thelma Armstrong, President, UNV. Of Maryland Eastern Shore
?For example I was very impressed with the flora. I like flowers and just growing wild were birds of paradise and ginger flowers. And just everything blooming everywhere and I do believe there is a great future in not just botanical things but herbs, spices and things of that nature. I see a great botanical garden here that will be an attraction for people who like plants, people who study them and people who just admire them. It would be a natural because the plants are already here.?

?We are land-grant institution and we are very advanced in agriculture and research. So we have people who deal with all aspects of agriculture. The head of our agriculture department is here and I am sure that our fisheries and wildlife people will come or plants people will come. So it?s not just growing the plants. It?s to study them and see what can be done with them or documenting what you have. That?s just one possibility we saw.?

Rodwell Ferguson, President, HANDS Belize
?When you look at them when they speak it?s not just a university relation. It?s a university to community building. So looking at it our communities will benefit. They will seek private sector assistance to assist us in developing our communities and our products.?

Jacqueline Woods
?How soon do you this programme getting off the ground??

Rodwell Ferguson, President, HANDS Belize
?It all depends. I am somebody who always wants to see something happen immediately. So I can say as of today we will see something get off the ground. With the HANDS foundation it was my vision and I have people to work along with me. HANDS will launch its independence on Wednesday if everything goes as planned and that will be the driving force in this whole situation.?

Ferguson says the programme will also benefit the communities of the Belize River Valley and eventually the Belize City Southside

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