Castries, September 30, 2015 – The Vieux-Fort Primary School is now home to a brand new greenhouse and kitchen to facilitate a School Feeding Programme it has been trying to establish since 2008. The lone school in District Six without a feeding programme, some students did not attend classes because they had nothing to eat. School Principal Francis Moonie says this will change with the garden and kitchen facilities provided by the LUCELEC Trust.
The LUCELEC Trust invested about seventy-seven thousand dollars ($77,000) into this project. The investment included a greenhouse, irrigation system, rain water harvesting equipment and guttering. In addition, the ceiling, cupboards, sinks, doors and windows of the existing kitchen were replaced and the layout improved to facilitate food preparation, cooking and feeding students. The school has also been provided with new appliances including two stoves, one refrigerator and a chest freezer.
The provision of the greenhouse garden and kitchen facilities at the Vieux-Fort Primary School were part of a pilot project aimed at strengthening the National School Feeding Programme, and is part of the action plan for Saint Lucia’s Food and Nutrition Policy. It is spearheaded by the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Social Transformation and Education. The School Feeding Project is also supported by the Government of Brazil and is part of St. Lucia’s response to the “Zero Hunger Challenge” made by the Secretary General of the United Nations. The “Zero Hunger Challenge” was formally launched in Saint Lucia on November 3, 2014.
During his address at the handover of the new facilities, LUCELEC Managing Director Trevor Louisy spoke of the repeated requests for assistance from various schools around the island that prompted the LUCELEC Trust to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia in finding sustainable solutions to the problem of children coming to school hungry.
“We care that no child should be in school without food or a decent meal to start the day. We care that students can be taught to grow the food they eat. We care that school canteens serve the healthiest food possible. We care that students are given the best opportunity to
succeed and as such their bodies and minds have to be well nourished. We trust that what we have started here can be replicated across all the schools on the island, one school, and one child at a time, said Mr. Louisy.
A very emotional and grateful Principal Francis Moonie spoke of the impact this project would have on his school and the community.
“I must thank LUCELEC for bringing joy to the hearts of our children and relief to our parents. This school feeding programme project will remove the burden from our parents and bring hope for our school. Our school will be fed and we will do better. Thank you LUCELEC for allowing us to see a light and experience a dream… To you LUCELEC, I say this is ‘the power of caring’,” said Mr Moonie.
Similar sentiments for LUCELEC’s support for this project were expressed by the Ministers for Education and Agriculture, and the Chairman of the Vieux Fort South Constituency Council.
LUCELEC’S representative on the School Feeding Committee is Ms. Bernardia Regis whose role in seeing this project through was applauded by all partners and the LUCELEC Managing Director. Mr. Louisy also commended the efforts of LUCELEC’s staff at the Administrative Office in Vieux Fort, just across the road from the school, for their efforts earlier in the year in starting a breakfast programme for the students paid for out of their own pockets.
The School Feeding Project at the Vieux-Fort Primary School was officially handed over on Wednesday September 23, 2015.