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Jan 30, 2001

British help schools recover from Keith

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The winds and rain may be distant memories, but those people and institutions still suffering from Hurricane Keith have not been forgotten. Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Hurricane Keith put the hurt on Belize’s educational system to a tune of three and a half million dollars primarily in the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. And to help repair the damage, the British government has donated two hundred and ninety-two thousand dollars.

Tim David, British High Commissioner

“With UNICEF we’ve decided on a number of good causes in Belize, one of which is the refurbishment of schools, schools used also as hurricane shelters. And as you heard today that the money is going to refurbish some sixty-four schools that suffered during Hurricane Keith either from the direct hit of the impact or because or they were used by poor people struggling for shelter.”

Though the money was generated by the British government, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund oversaw its disbursement. UNICEF Representative, Miguel Ugalde, believes that the donation is not only about repairing school buildings, but the actual calibre of education that children receive in the classroom.

Miguel Ugalde, UNICEF Representative

“The children of Belize like the children of the all the world have the right to a good quality education in addition to the right to be protected, to survival, and to health. So this drive for education is interpreted by UNICEF to good quality education. And good quality education is not only to have big buildings and schools it means also to have a curriculum that makes sense to the children.”

Teachers of the curriculum from all parts of the country were present to receive their respective funds. San Pedro high, one of the worst hit by Keith.

Martha Guerrero, Chairperson, San Pedro High School

“I think were getting a little over fourteen thousand dollars. That’s to replace eight or ten computers that we lost during Hurricane Keith. I don’t know if that would be enough, but we plan to use it for the computers.”

Elsie Cordova, San Lazaro Methodist Protestant School

“Well I plan to fix the windows that were damaged and the doors and there’s a part of the building that leaked water, especially during the hurricane season. This past hurricane the roof was leaking.”

Eleanor Castillo, Principal, Stella Maris School

“We are supposed to receive three thousand dollars and it is for the replacement of furniture and some small equipment at school, and also for materials, school materials maybe books.”

Anna Reyes, Principal Pancotto Primary School

“Our school was under water for three weeks and we had several books and teachers tables and stuff that were damaged. So we plan to use this money to replace the books and the furniture that was damaged.”

Reporting for News 5, Jose Sanchez.

On Wednesday High Commissioner Tim David will present a cheque for over sixty-nine thousand dollars to the Ministry of Human Development to be used to help hurricane stricken families, particularly those headed by single women, to purchase household effects and building materials.

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