Monday, August 19, 2013

New building for Top Hill Basic from Kind Hearts, Food for the Poor

Andrew Mahfood (right)  Food For the Poor Jamaica (FFPJ) Chairman and members of Kind Hearts Limited unveil the Top Hill Basic School sign at Lluidas Vale, St. Catherine, where they built an entirely new school structure. This is the 16th school in the Food for the Poor Jamaica 50 programme, and the second collaboration involving FFPJ and Kind Hearts Limited.  The two organisations first worked on the funding needed for the construction of the D. Franks Early Childhood Institute in Manchester, which was officially opened in September 2012. Kind Hearts Limited is a Jamaican non-profit organisation consisting of the the grandchildren of Richard and Diana Stewart, operators of Stewart's Automotive Group. Christina Lechler is the organisation's director.

Remarks by FFPJ Chair Andrew Mahfood at dedication of new buildings for Top Hill Basic School in Lluidas Vale, St Catherine - Thursday, August 15, 2013  
Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica is on a mission…one that will inject inspiration, vision and hope in the educational infrustructure of our nation. Last year we announced that would upgrade 50 Basic Schools in 50 Months – in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. This Jamaica 50 Campaign, launched in June 2012, is replacing unfit learning spaces for children, with comfortable, child-centred learning environments.
Since the launch event, 15 schools have been constructed and officially opened.  Today, Top Hill Basic School will be added as the 16th basic school to benefit from the Jamaica 50 Campaign and it is my absolute pleasure to be here to share on this momentous occasion for the students, teachers and community.

No more will the students have to contend with learning in a cramped room on the church grounds or a water soaked roof that was falling apart. Using the Church’s single bathroom facility located at a distance from the classroom and a sickbay with one bed and dilapidated furniture, will now be a thing of the past. Additionally, parents will no longer have to feel hesitant in registering their children due to the school’s location and condition.  At the completion of this project, the students and their teachers will have beautiful and spacious classrooms, a sickbay, a teachers’ office, kitchen, and bathrooms.   As in all cases where we build early childhood facilities, we will also equip the School with child friendly furniture as well as a refrigerator and stove for the kitchen area.

The current modest student population will no doubt increase with the provision of this significant boost.

Andrew Mahfood with Top Hill Principal John Golding, members of the Stweart-Lechler family who founded Kind Hearts, and the pupils at the Basic School
This milestone achievement in the life of Top Hill Basic School is the direct result of volunteerism and partnership.  Therefore, we salute the tremendous efforts of our local philanthropists from Kind Hearts Limited, who have not only provided the funds to build the school but have invested their time and physical strength (even during the downpour on Tuesday) to ensure that these students have a bright future. 

The mission of Kind Hearts Limited, to save Jamaica one school at a time, coupled with FFP’s vision to empower the materially poor and renew the poor in spirit, has produced a rewarding and relationship.  It started in 2012 when the group partnered with us to construct the D. Franks Early Childhood Institution located in Greenvale, Manchester.  Today, they are back to dedicate this institution…and I have a strong feeling that this will not be the last time that we will hear from Kind Hearts Limited.  They have demonstrated that “patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success” as stated by Napoleon Hill.

We must also say a big ‘Thank You’ to the Top Hill Pentecostal Church of God for accommodating the school over the years and Top Hill Primary School for granting permission for the new school to be built on this property. We are also grateful to our contractors, construction workers and our FFP team members, for your continued support.

Indeed, today’s event is another wonderful reminder of how we all can positively change lives and improve community infrastructure through volunteerism and partnerships.  Let’s continue to work together to save Jamaica whether one school, one family or one person at a time.

On behalf of Food For The Poor, thank you Kind Hearts Limited and may God bless you in your wonderful work.

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