“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. If we can effectively educate young people, we have a better chance of leaving the world in a better place as each generation passes.
This is especially true in places where disaster has left infrastructure devastated. You might remember Sam sharing the story of a young girl who set up a school for fellow children in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma. In his documentary Help, Hope and Hurricanes, the girl highlighted how crucial it is to keep educating young people.
With this in mind, when Virgin Unite and Unite BVI carefully looked at where we could have the best impact to help the BVI, education was one of the key pillars we wanted to focus on. We have made three investments in education, the first being to support the rebuild the High School structure at the Bregado Flax Educational Center (BFEC), a public high school in Virgin Gorda. Unite BVI will support The Ministry of Education & Culture in its work to provide a safe, secure and enriching learning environment for students at the BFEC.
Unite BVI are also joining with the Guana Fund, the Jarecki Family and the McLain Association for Children (MAC) to donate 650 Chromebooks to the Ministry of Education, with the goal of getting a Chromebook into the hands of every public senior high school student (Grades 10-12) by early 2018. These will help enable the delivery of secondary education particularly to students still navigating the mass destruction of the Elmore Stout High School in Tortola and the school structures in outer lying islands. The project will enable teachers and students access to online training materials and resources as well as network an education platform that connects students and teachers across the BVI. Providing Chromebooks will continue the Ministry of Education's vision of integrating technology into the classroom and provide connectivity for young people while the schools undergo a nationwide rebuild. Being able to keep in touch with the world will hugely benefit studies and growth.
It is also crucial to keep people active and curious. Further investment is in a youth empowerment project (YEP), which is being run by two local committed community heroes to engage young people in the neighbourhood with a variety of activities after school. The project, the first dedicated youth facility in the BVI, was originally funded by the Jarecki Family, and we are delighted to support this safe haven that provides opportunities and activities for young people.
We’re committed to helping to build a better and stronger BVI. Education is a huge part of its long term recovery, growth and strength. We’ll share another update soon on the other overarching focus areas of the long-term rebuild: community and entrepreneurship. In the meantime, thanks to everyone for their continued support for the wonderful communities of the British Virgin Islands.