A new structure housing the Paix Bouche Primary School was officially commissioned on Thursday 16 August 2018.
The school was one of many damaged as a result of Hurricane Maria last September and All Hands and Hearts Smart Response came on board and contributed to the school’s reconstruction.
Over forty volunteers from twenty-one nationalities including the US, France, Germany, Australia, Bolivia, Mexico, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, Israel, St. Lucia and Dominica worked on the project.
The school was officially handed over by Founder of All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, Petra Nemcova to Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Peter Saint Jean on Thursday morning.
All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, an international charitable organization, spent four months in Paix Bouche rehabilitating the primary school and preschool, according to project manager, Nathan Lewis.
“First of all we’ve built a new hurricane resistant roof that you can see it’s absolutely beautiful up there. We’ve done a lot of earthquake restructure and strengthening to both structures of the Primary School and we completely demolished the Preschool so we could build it in its entirety,” Lewis reported.
“We’ve upgraded both schools to come up to the new 2018 specifications; as you’ll see inside, all of the new classrooms are absolutely brand new looking with top technology in them,” he added.
The project, he acknowledged, is “not completely finished” and they will remain for another two (2) weeks “to finish some bits and bobs off and get it looking top notch” just before the children move back in September.
“We do want to reiterate that we’re so thankful that everybody has worked so hard until now to make this deadline for the beginning of September,” Lewis stated.
All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, he added, is also providing a new hurricane shelter for the people of Paix Bouche “should there be another hurricane in the future”.
Principal of the Paix Bouche Primary School, Magdalene Honore, who is out of state, expressed via a video that “today is indeed a memorable occasion” as the community has received “school which has been totally transformed” after “the heartbreaking devastation which the school had suffered”.
Mrs. Honore said her assessment of the school plant two days after Hurricane Maria “was totally devastating” and they wondered whether it would ever be possible to replace what was lost.
“Well now, I can confidently say yes. Thanks to All Hands and Hearts our school is now in a better position to deliver quality education to all our students,” she said.
Mrs. Honore informed that as a result of the rehabilitation, the school now has “additional classrooms space, a staffroom, a bigger kitchen, emergency exit doors, not forgetting a school plant that is now more resilient to hurricanes and earthquakes and much more”.
“Let me assure you the witnesses of this commissioning ceremony, especially our benefactors, that we shall assume responsibility for protecting, managing and maintaining this wonderful facility with all prudence, diligence and accountability,” Mrs. Honore stated.
A number of international and regional organizations partnered with All Hands and Hearts Smart Response to include TooMe, Clara Lionel Foundation, Lifeline Ministries, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Engineers without Borders, Rotary Club of Portsmouth.