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SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND ON DRIVE TO INCREASE ENROLMENT

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KINGSTON, Jan. 29 (JIS): BY: JUDITH A. HUNTER – The Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is on a drive to increase enrolment at the institution.

Principal, Iyeke Erharuyi, is encouraging parents with children who are visually impaired to make the effort and give them the quality education they need. “The Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is the right place they can have that (quality education). We know that parents with children who are blind would want them to be part of the regular school system, but there are some curricula that we offer that these students cannot access at a regular school,” Mr. Erharuyi tells JIS News in an interview.

He cites as examples orientation in ‘Mobility’ and ‘Braille Literacy’, which “the students cannot do without.” The Principal notes that for parents who are unwilling to bring their child to be enrolled, there is an outreach programme where representatives of the school “go from community to community looking for children with this type of disability to register them into our school.”

“All parents or guardians need is the child’s birth certificate to enroll. Our admission process is open right through the year, from January to December,” he informs.

Mr. Erharuyi believes there is nothing like giving a sound education to a child and that “a child with visual impairment is no different from the regular child.”

The school, which is situated at 57 Manning Hills Road in Kingston, has been providing quality education for some of the most vulnerable Jamaicans since 1927 and students who attend are classified as having low vision or totally blind.

Mr. Erharuyi says the institution can accommodate up to 200 students, but presently has 145 students enrolled.
“The institution is a composite school. We provide education for students at the pre-primary, primary, secondary and vocational levels,” he informs.

At present, seven students are enrolled at the pre-primary level; 51 at the primary level; 63 at the secondary and nine at the vocational level. The Assessment and Remedial Department, which facilitates students with multiple disabilities and those who are at an age well above school level, has 15 students.

One of them is 21 year-old Andrew Gentles, who gives the institution high marks for the manner in which it engages students. Mr. Gentles wants to be a journalist and credits the school for its nurturing. He describes his overall experience as good, “because the school allows us to reach our goals and I am motivated by a spirit to succeed and a keen sense of ambition.”

Mr. Gentles has so far completed level one in Office Administration and Information Technology at HEART Trust/NTA and will sit three CSEC subjects – English, Office Administration and Social Studies – this year. He notes that one of the benefits of going to the school is that the teachers have more time to spend with each student. “I am able to go to a teacher and tell him or her that I did not understand a particular subject and the teachers are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we grasp what is being taught,” he says.

Mr. Gentles is also enjoying his status as big brother on campus. “As one of the older students I feel privileged as the younger ones see me as a big brother and would come to me and we would rap together,” he tells JIS News.
The institution has 18 teachers on staff, and the school’s curriculum is similar to that in the regular school system.

“We go up to CXC and CAPE levels and we also provide vocational training through the HEART Trust/NTA vocational programme,” Mr. Erharuyi explains.

The school also has an integrated programme where some students are integrated into the regular school system after passing the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). Mr. Erharuyi notes that students at the primary level are able to get the foundation needed to enable them to function properly at the secondary level in the regular school system.

He also cites the passing of the Disabilities Act in October 2014 as a good move. “I want to praise the effort of all the persons involved. We are going in the right direction because for so long we have been lacking in this area. The inclusiveness we have been talking about is now incorporated in this Act,” he says.

The Principal points out that with the Act, some schools can no longer use the excuse of not having the proper facilities to turn down students. He also foresees better job prospects for graduates as companies will also have to make adjustments to their facilities to accommodate the disabled.

“On our part this is going to help us to improve on our own facilities, because we cannot be only talking about other organisations without us not fixing what we have, so it is really a good move for everybody,” he adds.

This year six graduates of the school have been admitted to colleges and universities and presently the Guidance Counsellor, English Teacher and Librarian are graduates of the institution.

The Salvation Army School For The Blind is a grant aided institution and benefits from regular programmes, such as the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). The Government is responsible for the employment of the staff and provides funding for the operation of the institution annually. The school also gets support from the Salvation Army and their overseas partners and private entities like the Canadian Embassy.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Celebrates World Tourism Day

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#TheBahamas, September 28, 2021 – “This year, World Tourism Day has been designated as a day to focus on inclusive growth through tourism, which is quite poignant,” said Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “Like many Caribbean destinations, tourism is the heartbeat of The Bahamas and as we say, it is everyone’s business. Our beaches are breathtaking, and the water is so clear you can see it from space, but that is not what defines us. Rather, it is every individual person who shapes the Bahamas experience and stands to benefit from tourism’s success. I am committed to creating jobs and opportunities for all Bahamians and to help our great nation heal.”

As international travel restrictions begin to ease, spurred by an increase in vaccine accessibility, The Bahamas is well positioned for continued recovery. A rise in scheduled airlift combined with the return of the cruise industry is contributing to a positive increase in visitor numbers, leading to nearly 500,000 visitors over the first six months of the year.

“While we have faced an uphill battle during these unprecedented times, we must stay focused and optimistic as the world begins to reopen,” noted the Deputy Prime Minister. “I join with leaders throughout the Caribbean to elevate the importance of social inclusion, sustainability and smart destinations and businesses. Our beautiful country, and our beloved Caribbean region, will prosper again and continue to progress, as in the words of the motto of The Bahamas:  Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.”

 

Photo Credit: Sandals.com

 

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Lyford Cay Foundations Award Academic Scholarships to 18 Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 27, 2021 – Eighteen Bahamians who are committed to making a difference in The Bahamas in fields ranging from mitigating climate change to ending physical abuse have been awarded generous undergraduate and graduate school scholarships from the Lyford Cay Foundations.

Today’s announcement of the names of academic awardees follows earlier news that for the first time in its 50+ year history, the Foundations saw the majority of successful applicants for vocational scholarships chose training and certification in medical or health-related subjects – perhaps inspired by the great health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both groups, academic and technical vocational, were outstanding this year, making the work of the independent screening committees more challenging than ever and many of the students who applied were so impressive that they were also being offered substantial scholarships from top universities, all of which speaks for the quality and reputation of students from The Bahamas,” said Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Executive Director. “What was of particular interest this year is the common thread in their essays, almost like a fire burning in them – a desire to make a difference in The Bahamas when they return.”

One of those recipients, Empress Sears, a graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, is off to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto with a William Birchall Scholarship. “An issue we as Bahamians should all be concerned about is the lack of attention given to our natural resources,” Sears wrote in her essay. “Our beaches, mangroves, pine forests, and coral reefs are in a state of peril….Overproduction of air pollutants has caused the temperature to steadily climb worldwide. The results of this come in the form of sweltering heat and devastating hurricanes. These effects play a major role in why our natural resources are under extreme stress. It is our duty as Bahamians to seek out the best possible methods to reduce the severity of these natural disasters.”

Two other recipients, Jasmine Adamson and Paul Roberts, plan to tackle the energy problem, focusing on renewables, Roberts at University of California, Berkley, and Adamson at Kettering University.

Another, Rhodricia Francis, was inspired by her own family’s experience to become a pharmaceutical chemist. “I believe that Bahamians deserve access to better treatments and medications,” she wrote. “As a pharmaceutical chemist, I will develop novel, effective drugs with minimal side effects and investigate more efficient methods to synthesize current drugs. Efficiency in drug creation will make medication more accessible to the general population.”

Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Basil Goulandris cited the variety of interests and ambition as “extraordinary.”

“Every year, we think how can next year’s applicants equal this year’s and every year, new applicants surprise us,” he said. “This year, the applicants showed interest in a wide variety of subjects that were very demanding and an extraordinary ambition to make The Bahamas even better.”

Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Tim Unwin agreed.

“When you look at the fields of study and the quality of the scholarship recipients for 2021-22, you have to feel that the future of The Bahamas is in good hands,” Unwin declared. “Upon their return to The Bahamas, these wonderful students will find many opportunities to give effect to their vision.

 The Foundations awarded $380,000 in scholarships this year to 26 new recipients in addition to the 27 ongoing scholarships allowing Bahamians to study throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The Foundations have awarded more than $50 million in education benefits to Bahamians along with helping to support non-profits, with an emphasis on those that contribute to education.

Recipients of this year’s new undergraduate scholarships include Paul Roberts – Physics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jasmine Adamson – Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University; Zion Virgil – Chemistry, Florida Southern College; Rhodricia Francis – Chemistry, Florida International University; Jaleah Taylor – Visual Arts/Communications, Media and Film, University of Windsor; Kiara Minnis – Computer Science Degree with Cooperative Education, Lakehead University; Ashanti Marshall – English and Art, St. Francis Xaviers; Shealyn Burrows – Chemistry, St. Mary’s University; Tyler Christie – Biology, St. Mary’s University; Dacacia Russell – Accounting, Mount Royal University; Chandler Darville – Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto; Alexander Baxter – Management, University of Toronto; Asya Johnson – Computer Science, University of New Brunswick; Empress Sears – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto.

Those working toward graduate degrees include :  Leandria Albury – Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota; Felecia Campbell – Child and Youth Care, Holland College; Lemuel Johnson – Trumpet Performance, Western Illinois University; and Clarence Albury – Creative Writing, Witchita State University.

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Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board Celebrates World Tourism Day

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The Destination Continues to See an Influx of Tourists, Following One of the Busiest Summers on Record, and Is Optimistic for the Future

#TurksandCaicos, September 27, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands, is excited to celebrate World Tourism Day on today, September 27, 2021, and reflect on the Island’s significant increase in tourism since the pandemic. Thanks to the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing and public relations plans, combined with its vigilant TCI Assured protocols, aggressive vaccine campaign, and pent-up travel demand, the destination reported one of its busiest summers to date in 2021 with an increase of over 18% in June, 19% in July, and 15% in August compared to pre-pandemic statistics in 2019.

“On World Tourism Day and every day, we are proud to celebrate the success of tourism to the Turks and Caicos Islands, especially after the challenges that we and all tourism-driven countries faced during the pandemic,” said Pamela Ewing, Director of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. “We have worked hard to enforce necessary safety protocols to ensure that tourism, our main economic driver, continues to positively impact both our local and travelling communities. The destination is optimistic for one of the busiest Festive seasons to date ahead, and we wish success to all other islands in the Caribbean.”

Tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands continues to flourish due to the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing and public relations campaigns in the United States, Canada, South America, United Kingdom and Europe to promote the destination as safe for travelers. This includes press trips with key publications, radio campaigns in source markets, advertising and partnerships with stakeholders, and executing the signature event, Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC), which updated all partners on protocols and accommodation availability.

“We are grateful for all of our valued tourism partners, who have supported our efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of our residents and guests, and to the community for their vigilance in getting vaccinated and adhering to protocols,” said Honorable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands. “It is because of everyone’s commitment that we’ve been able to keep tourism thriving safely and allow guests to focus on enjoying the exceptional vacation experience afforded by the destination, our picturesque beaches, and our world-class resorts and villas.”

Travel confidence has also increased thanks to the destination’s TCI Assured portal, a quality assurance pre-travel program and portal, which requires require a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR, NAA, RNA or Antigen test result from a test taken within three days of travel, medical / travel insurance that covers medevac, a completed health screening questionnaire, and proof of vaccination for all visitors ages 16 years and over. The vaccine requirement underscores the destination’s commitment to health and safety and expands on its already vigilant travel protocols, which have been in place for travelers since July 22, 2020, when the destination opened its borders to tourists. The Turks and Caicos Islands also continues to promote its vaccine campaign among residents, with over 70 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—making it one of the most inoculated countries in the world.

For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com. Follow the Turks and Caicos Islands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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