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Feb 28, 2006

Peace Corps celebrates 45th birthday

Story PictureThis week the United States Peace Corps, created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, is celebrating forty-five years of service. Just one year after its establishment, the organization’s first volunteers arrived in Belize to teach in our schools. As part of their anniversary celebrations, today the more than sixty men and women working in Belize gathered in the old capital to share their experiences and plan for the future. According to Associate Director Austin Arzu, the Peace Corps has played an important role in Belize’s development, especially in the area of education.

Austin Arzu, Associate Director, Peace Corps Belize
?The first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in this country in June of 1962, and currently we do have sixty-two Peace Corps volunteers throughout the length and breadth of the country.?

Janelle Chanona
?What?s next for Peace Corps in Belize??

Austin Arzu
?Well, to continue doing the good work that we?ve been doing. We don?t usually toot our horns or clang our bells, but in many crooks and crannies of this country, volunteers are doing everything that they can to assist small communities, organisations, schools, the government of Belize, as well as individuals in progress, development, and helping them to move ahead.?

?Currently we have teacher trainers who are assisting in the reading programme in collaboration with U.W.I. and the University of Belize. This is a pilot project right now where we are training teachers in the teaching of reading at the infant one to standard two levels and this is really working out.?

?One of the things that we know about Peace Corps volunteers and the communities that they work in, is that they establish lasting relationships and many volunteers either marry in Belize, come back to live in Belize, or come back every year to vacation and see their friends.?

After five years in Belize, Peace Corps Belize Country Director Bill Barbieri has handed over operations here to Don Douglas. Also joining the administrative team is Anna Tonnes who will be working with Arzu as an associate director.

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