The Guyana Jamaica Friendship Association New York Inc (GJFA) was formed in January 2014 when it had its first meeting and ratified its Constitution. Office bearers were nominated, voted on and appointed and the Organization was subsequently registered,Incorporated by New York State and approved by the IRS as a public charity and granted tax exempt status.We were also granted New York Sales tax exemption.
We adopted Mashabo Primary School in Essequibo, Guyana and Aeolus Valley All-Age School in St. Thomas, Jamaica. These were two schools in very rural areas and fit with our goals of reaching out to underserved areas.Our resolve was to make these two schools ,the best that they could be, by improving the academic performances of the children, instilling a sense of pride in both teachers and students, investing in technology at the schools and increasing the skillset of the teachers.We also set about to increase the involvement of the community in the school by encouraging the involvement of men in general and fathers in particular with school activity and also the formation of vibrant Parent Teachers Associations.We also sought to improve economic well being of the community.
Whenever we tell our story, invariably, some of the first questions asked are why did you decide to adopt primary schools and how did you chose Aeolus Valley All-Age School and Mashabo Primary School. Our responses are that primary schools, particularly in underserved rural areas are a source of untapped potential in terms of academic and other potential and because of this, leaves countless young people trapped in poverty which is avoidable. Timely, focused intervention could result in increased self-belief and thus improved performances and this could have a snow-ball effect as children see improved performances of their peers so encouraging them to work even harder to achieve previously unattainable positions.
We seek to broaden the horizons of our students so they begin to believe in themselves, that they do not limit their dreams to what their forbears have achieved.
In determining where to look for a school, we found out that St. Thomas and Hanover were the two parishes which had somewhat lagged behind the other parishes in their academic journey and with the former being more accessible to us, our next task was to find a school in St. Thomas. Serendipity led us to Aeolus Valley in January 2015 and over the past years it has been an inspired choice almost seemingly divine intervention.We have had two outstanding Headteachers whose vision, hard work, innovativeness and resolve have inspired us and because of this we have made …
I have long felt that Amerindian schools for a variety of reasons have not been accomplishing what they should and as a group we decided to show that these children had the potential to accomplish great things once they are playing on a level playing field and have adequate supplies, teachers and opportunities. Over the past eight years we have been fortunate to have two headteachers with the same vision, drive, innovation and sagacity to help guide the school into uncharted territory. In a stunning reversal of fortunes after going for thirty plus years without any passes in the National Grade 6 examinations to List A Secondary Schools, Mashabo has had passes for 5 consecutive…