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Jan 6, 2020

Pathlight International Adopts Unity Presbyterian Primary School

The new school year started on a good footing for the two hundred and twenty-five students of Unity Presbyterian Primary School in Belize City.  And that is because they have been gifted with a list of school items that range from furniture to training for teachers.  It came from Pathlight International that has now adopted the school. News Five’s Duane Moody has the following report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Since 2008, Pathlight International has been supporting teachers and administrators with training and mentoring in an effort to empower children in the thirteen countries they operate in, including Belize. But at the start of the 2019 school year, through a call made by Chief Education Officer, Doctor Carol Babb, the organization has adopted Unity Presbyterian primary school on Antelope Street in the Collet Division.


Zelda Muschamp

Zelda Muschamp, Director of Operations, Pathlight International (Belize)

“We heard the call and we decided to say let’s take the call. And we decided then, through advice from the Chief Education Officer as well as the District Education Office here in Belize City to adopt Unity Presbyterian. And the adoption means that we are here working along with parents and with the school to make sure that the students that come here are successful. Today we are excited to be here. We have some furniture that we are donating to the school.”


The enrolment at the school has increased this year and another infant one classroom was added. There was need for additional tables and chairs for the students, so today at the commencement of second term; they got more than they bargained for: book shelves, a printer table, tire seats for the children, a set of gutter shelf with reading books for all classrooms, and more. In addition to the material resources, the teachers will also get training. Principal Dalila Makhwani says that it will help to boost the institution’s literacy programme.


Dalila Makhwani

Dalila Makhwani, Principal, Unity Presbyterian Primary School

“This year is the first year that we are having two infant-one classes; therefore, we lacked furniture. We had a class that we had to be borrowing chairs from one class to another class so whenever we had a full house, when all the students were here then we were in trouble. We had to be getting plastic chairs to make sure that the children have a place to sit. With the donation, it helps us cause now the children can sit comfortably. They have the space enough for them to take out their books, pencils and set it on the table whereas they are not jam up and pack up in one cluster class, but they have space available to do their work.”


Zelda Muschamp

“We have a unique way of making a library. We are working along with repurposing old things and to make them look new. So we have a library that we have created for each of the classrooms here at the school. A little reading loop where we have a sitting area as well.  We have another programme, a very important programme called the teacher training programme and this is where we are working along with the teachers and principal of the school where we are going to professional development for the teachers so also working to make them better so that we ensure success with our students.”


Dalila Makhwani

“The library set there because this is one thing that we want to focus here at Unity. We want to give literacy a big space because we know a lot of our students have problems with reading so that’s one way Pathlight is also helping us—not only with furniture, but also helping us with literacy. They are also providing us with workshops where they are training the teachers with how we go about assessing the students with reading.”


It’s a pilot project which Doctor Babb says will be duplicated across the country for schools that need that added support.


Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“I am very happy that we are starting off with an excellent gift, the gift of education. In my opinion, it is very good to start of the year because we want every child from this school to succeed and the only way is with a sound education. Our minister says, his favourite mantra is, education is everybody’s business and we at the Ministry of Education realise that we cannot do it on our own.  I have reached out to some other organizations. I would want them to adopt schools as well because with partnership there are so much opportunities. I want to reach out to the greater organizations like B.E.L., B.T.L. to support schools, to partner with them to ensure that these children have a hope to succeed in life.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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