SANDALS FOUNDATION MAKES ITS MARK IN THE CARIBBEANTuesday 20th March 2012
Sandals guest interacts with Cedar Grove Primary students during the Sandals Foundation’s Reading Road Trip.
Since its inception, the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) – has impacted 80,000 lives across the Caribbean through more than 100 community programmes.
Celebrating its third anniversary this March, the Sandals Foundation has raised over US$1.5 million, keeping its promise of channeling 100 per cent of the funds raised into the Caribbean region.
Focused on preserving the environment, the Foundation, over the past three years, has invested in marine sanctuaries, supporting the biodiversity of Caribbean waters, while educating fishermen in Jamaica on the importance of preserving marine life.
Having partnered with Great Shape! Inc., the Sandals Foundation was able to facilitate oral hygiene education, dental and eye care clinics for more than 50,000 people.
With a team of 4,000 community and guest volunteers, along with 10,000 staff members, the Sandals Foundation has also facilitated a number of initiatives, including an annual Christmas toy drive where – since 2009 – 10,000 children have received toys each year; the donation of 65,000 books to Caribbean schools; and an on-going voluntourism initiative, the Reading Road Trip, to promote literacy in children.
As part of its push for education, the Sandals Foundation has seen to the construction of two schools in Jamaica: Culloden Early Childhood Institute – a green school – in Westmoreland, Jamaica for 120 students; and Seville Golden pre-school, which is capable of accommodating 100 students, in St. Ann.
Renovations have also been made to other schools in the Caribbean while computer labs, recreational areas for children, and school libraries have been built.
“We would not be able to carry out our mission to positively impact the lives of others without the dedication of our team members and the hard work put in by our volunteers,” said Heidi Clarke, director of programmes. “We are also very grateful to community partners, without whom our work would not be possible. Partnership is our greatest strength.”
Sandals Foundation president, Adam Stewart, who is also the CEO of Sandals Resorts International, noted that the foundation aims to build the Caribbean, one project at a time.
“I am very proud of how far the Sandals Foundation has come in giving back to Caribbean communities in just three years. The community projects and programmes are a step in the right direction, but there is definitely a need that keeps growing and we must continue to work with our partners to address the issues that affect our region,” he said.
For 2012, the Foundation will focus on teacher training and parenting workshops, and has identified 11 major projects to focus on in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
These include implementing the Children’s Literacy Action Programme, which will involve refurbishing the Cedar Grove Primary School and Willikies Primary School libraries. Funds are currently being raised for the construction of a multi-purpose court for Antigua Girls High School.
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