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May 7, 2014

Annual financial literacy training culminates with community fair

As we reported earlier, the annual financial literacy training initiative of PricewaterhouseCoopers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Peace Work culminated today at the ITVET Compound. It gave way to a well attended community fair. The main attractions were a Vendor’s Fair and a Business Showcase which encouraged primary school students to become entrepreneurs. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Thousands of students and members of the general public gathered today at the Institute of Technical and Vocational Education Training Compound in Belize City. The event, dubbed a community fair, was the culmination of a financial literacy program spearheaded by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Peace Work and the Ministry of Education. It featured both a Vendor’s Fair and a Business Showcase.

 

The Vendor’s Fair saw health, education, financial institutions and other organizations put on display their services and products.

 

Debora Alvarado

Debora Alvarado, Secretary, Belize Cancer Society

“We are out here to promote cancer and our cancer walk. More people every day are coming up with cancer so we want to exercise and tell everybody you know what, cancer is not the end. It is a life and a fight that we must fight. And therefore, by doing that, we promote everything.”

 

Pearlene Jones

Pearlene Jones, ITVET, Stann Creek

“For the upcoming school year, we have some short courses that are not being offered at one of the other ITVETS. This includes: our cosmetology course for nine months. We are having our basket-weaving short course, jewelry making, baking and woodcarving. It is basically very affordable and we are trying to bring something very new to Stann Creek in terms of culture and traditions.”

 

Elsa Medina

Elsa Medina, Administrative Assistant, Belize Bank

“We are doing the back to school special that is for educational expenses—if you want to buy your uniforms, pay for fees; any lee expenses that you have for the school, you can come in to the bank. Our rates are very competition at this time; it is quick approval.”

 

Andrea Polanco

Andrea Polanco, PR Manager, B.T.B.

“We are sharing information with the community. We are promoting our scholarships that we have. We have a lot of students here today; they are learning about different educational opportunities that they can get from the B.T.B.  We are also promoting our tour guide course as well. So we have applications forms for people who are interested in being tour guides. We have different information on B.T.B., the importance of the industry in the country. And so we have students just learning a bit more about our organization—just a part of us giving back to the community and just us being good corporate citizen. Of course, we have some prizes which the students all love.”

 

Vendor’s Fair aside, it was the Business Showcase, that drew the interest of all those in attendance. Several primary schools, through the training received over the years, were tasked with coming up with creative, innovative products that were rather marketable. And young entrepreneurs they were. From handbags, to embroidery items…even smoothies, sauces and jewelry.

 

Lisa Sutherland

Lisa Sutherland, Coordinator, St. Luke’s Methodist School

“We draft out a plan for the whole school to participate. We actually have a financial literacy club where we invite, every Thursday, the children come in and they make a different product and the product needs to be marketable. So everything you see on display: the chains, the jewelry, the bags, the fruits on a stick, everything that is here is made by those students.”

 

Keisha Gentle

Keisha Gentle, Representative, Stella Maris School

“Stella Maris is a school that caters for children with different disabilities and we always believe that our kids can do the same thing that everybody does. What we have here this morning is a mango sauce. It is Stella Maris’ sweet and hot mango sauce and as you can see the mango is from the tree that we have in our yard. And we came up with the idea why not we make a sauce from the things we have in our yard. The herbs, we use from our garden and we decided to come up with a sauce.”

 

Felix Coc, Salvation Army School

“I did the swan by myself, and the others my friends did it. And I have my partner here that did this with their friends.”

 

Duane Moody

Felix Coc

“How is it made and where did you learn the technique?”

 

Felix Coc

“Actually, I learned it from my uncle. He was in prison and after he came out, he teach me how to do this. This is made out of paper and lot of cornflakes.”

 

Steve Dar, the Executive Director of Peace Work, spoke of what the judges were looking for.

 

Steve Dar

Steve Dar, Executive Director, Peace Work

“Creativity, product; more than a craft—a product that they will actively be able to sell. I look at all these here and the main thing I look at is can these items be sold? If they turn around here on the street and created a store for this item, would it sell? I think the main thing for us is it is great to work with the schools and increase educational opportunities, but the national result is jobs. And with the PwC, we can maybe help create some jobs with the local community here.”

 

Queen Square Primary won first place, Ebenezer Methodist Primary School took second and All Saints Primary School settled with third place. Duane Moody for News Five.

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