Students of the Catadupa Primary and Junior High School in rural St. James, are now able to attend online classes and have easier access to information on the Internet because of the kindness of The Citizens and Friends of Catadupa Association Inc. (CFCA)
The Association, which comprises persons who grew up in Catadupa and live overseas, as well as residents who still live in the area, donated 76 tablets to the school on December 28, 2020.
Member of Parliament, for Southern St. James, The Honourable Mr. Homer Davis, assisted with the tablet handover to the school’s principal, Mrs. Marcia Trought-Gordon. Executive Members of the Association, Miss. Winsome Brown, and Mrs. Millicent Drummond; made the presentation on behalf of the Association.
Chairman of the CFCA, Mr. Trevor Roache, said when the Ministry of Education reported to E-Learning during the COVID 19 pandemic, the Association felt the need to assist, as several of the students were not able to access their lessons online as they had no computers or other equipment to participate in online learning.
“We saw the need and quickly organized and rose to the occasion to supply the tablets,” Mr. Roache stated. “Since then, we have basically adopted the school and have completed four additional projects and are currently working on two others,” he continued.
He said the Association has adopted the school through the National Education Trust, (NET) as of January 2021, which means they will be providing support to the school in various ways.
“The National Education Trust, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, went to the school and assessed what the school would need and how the association could assist them. So far, we have renovated the kitchen, the staff room, the library, installed water tanks on top of the school, and donated the tablets and two incubators to support the school’s agricultural program, (rearing chickens), which will be used to support the school’s lunch program. Eventually, the school’s chicken rearing will become an economic enterprise. Before, they had to buy baby chicks and then raise them to be used in the school’s lunch program. The two new incubators will eliminate the need to spend money to purchase the chickens. They will be able to raise more chickens, and the excess chickens they don’t use will be sold to the community,” Mr. Roache outlined.
“We have spent approximately JA$1.4 million so far; since December 2020. Our next big project is the renovation of the Catadupa Market House to be used as a Public Library,” Mr. Roache continued.
The principal of the school, Mrs. Trought-Gordon, thanked the Association profusely and said the pandemic forced the school to move teaching and other learning activities from the classroom to online at extremely short notice.
This was the first donation of its kind to the school by the Association which was incorporated in December 2020. The Catadupa Citizens and Friends Association Inc. is a Non-Profit Organization, established by citizens from the community who believe in giving back to their community. The organization is headquartered in Miami Florida, with membership throughout the United States of America, Canada, England, Jamaica, and other parts of the world. Plans to create a Jamaican Chapter are well advanced, and it is expected that they should officially launch before the end of this year.
Mr. Roache says the combined efforts of both chapters of dedicated individuals will increase outreach and philanthropic efforts as well as the effectiveness of the group overall.
Members of the Association also contribute to a weekly feeding program in the community for the elderly and other persons in need of food.
In keeping with its motto: “Purpose-driven! Community-Focussed!” Mr. Roache said the association is currently finalizing plans to refurbish the Market House and converting it to a modern, state-of-the-art library for the use of the community, which has been without a public library for several years.
“In addition to a full state of the art library, the building will house an Internet Café, a reading room, a conference center, a meeting room, and a craft center, which currently operates at the facility. The aim is to have the building as a hub, generating and supporting community activities,” Mr. Roache stated, adding that they plan to show films and host other educational and cultural events at the venue.