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Dec 16, 2022

$12,000 Dollars in Supplies to Stella Maris School

This morning, twelve thousand dollars in supplies were delivered to Stella Maris School. The donation comes by way of collaboration between UNICEF and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. As Belize’s stand alone all purpose center for special education, the donation will go a long way in fulfilling the school’s mission.  A brief handing over ceremony was held on the compound this morning. News Five’s Paul Lopez was there. He filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Stella Maris School equips children with various abilities for the world of work.  This has been the trademark feature of the institution over its six decades of existence. And today, UNICEF Belize and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children made a substantial contribution towards the school’s efforts.


Alison Parker

Alison Parker, Representative, UNICEF Belize

“For us at UNICEF Belize, we believe that inclusive investments including in children with various abilities are critical to national development. Children with various abilities are not liabilities, they are assets. If we can tap their unique talents they can contribute to the massive ecosystem for national development that we are looking for.   Our donation today amounts to about twelve thousand Belizean dollars and it helps to provide the students at this school to have access to much needed equipment to make this learning possible. This includes sewing machines, freezers, and an industrial oven which is just a token of our commitment to this agenda.”


According to a 2021 UNESCO report on Belize, children with disabilities are constantly excluded from participating in education and employment opportunities. Data also reveals that only ten percent of persons living with disabilities in the Caribbean are employed.


Christy Almeida

Christy Almeida, Program Coordinator, Special Education Unit

“The ILO tells us that excluding persons with disabilities from the workplace cause countries seven to ten percent of GDP. For Belize guys, that is about two hundred million dollars a year we are losing. We are not going to grow as a country if we don’t invest in our children. And so yes, you mention the partnership, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology is blessed with a really strong partnership and relationship with UNICEF, because our goals align. You all want access to education for our children. You all want access to education for our children. You all fight so that every child has a chance at life. And, when the ministry thinks about life, you think about equitable access to education, to community, to employment.”


Rossana Briceño

Rossana Briceño, Special Envoy for Women and Children

“Stella Maris is not your regular school. Stella Maris is a life skills program approach. It takes that approach because the goal is that when your children leave from here they can leave with a skill, the skill of surviving in our beautiful Belize. So, it is not just that you learn your name and you write and you do all the academics. This is not where or what Stella Maris is based on solely. It is based on a whole life skills approach. You leave here and you learn something. You can defend yourself, you survive.”


The students at Stella Maris School graced those in attendance with various performances. Young Malique Requeña sung his rendition of “Better Watch Out”.


Malique Requeña

, Student

“Santa Clause is coming is coming to town…….”


Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams, Principal, Stella Maris School

“We want to have these children learning a skill. When they leave from us, whatever their certificates say that they are certified in that they are, because they have mastered that skill and anybody can employ them because they are good at what they are doing here.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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