March 26 – Castries, Saint Lucia – The Castries Anglican Infant and the Mon Repos RC Combined Schools are the latest learning institutions to benefit from the Sandals Foundation and Hands Across the Sea books and library programme.
For the past several years, the Sandals Foundation has worked to raise the literacy levels of thousands of students with support for a dozen school libraries in partnership with Hands Across the Sea.
This most recent undertaking saw the funding and supply of 1,035 new books and literacy resources for Castries Anglican Infant School which caters to 236 students from kindergarten to grade two and 1,373 new books and literacy resources for Mon Repos RC Combined School which caters to 165 students from kindergarten up to grade six.
Sandals Foundation Executive Director, Heidi Clarke, said it is important that the habit of reading is encouraged in children from a very early age, hence the need for the availability of exciting reading materials for kindergarteners and primary school-aged children.
“Encouraging our children to start reading at a very early stage will undoubtedly go a far way to increase the literacy levels of children in their later years. It is integral to the overall development of the region that reading comprehension is taught from a very early age and the foundation is very pleased to sponsor the donation of books and library supplies to these two schools that cater to young children,” Clarke said.
Since 2007, Hands Across the Sea has sourced over 247,000 brand new books from the world’s best publishers for schools in the Eastern Caribbean with a mission of transforming the literacy landscape of the beneficiary countries.
The books were secured through Hands Across the Sea ‘Caribbean Literacy and School Support’ (CLASS) programme and according to the organization’s Executive Director and Co-founder, Harriet Linskey, “The foundation has been able to help raise the literacy levels of St. Lucia’s children by giving thousands of students access to new amazing books, literacy resources, and a lending library in their school. The lending libraries at both schools are further supported by Khrystal Lucien, the Hands Literacy Link for St. Lucia.”
Hands across the Sea was founded by Harriet and Tom Linskey who have made it their mission to raise literacy levels in Eastern Caribbean children. With the support of governments, the OECS, the US Peace Corps, corporate and private donors, Hands has been able to raise funds to either create libraries from scratch or to strengthen already existing libraries.