The Digicel Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), assisted in raising the standard of care available to students in the Special Needs sector today with the unveiling of a new structure at the Early Stimulation Plus school (ESP). As part of its commitment to support the advancement of children with Special Needs, the Foundation erected eight temporary classrooms to house the students until a new structure is built by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Once the permanent structure is complete, this temporary building will be utilized as administrative offices and staff training rooms. Each of the classrooms has been fully outfitted with specialised equipment and furniture to meet the daily requirements of the students. Ms. Judine Hunter, Programme Manager for Special Needs at Digicel Foundation, expressed her sincere joy at the partnership, saying, “One of our most fulfilling experiences has been through this partnership with ESP. High quality early intervention is essential to the development of all children with Special Needs. We are truly grateful for this day.” The Early Stimulation Plus school is a component of the Early Stimulation Programme, which is managed by the Ministry of Labour & Social Security. Since its inception in 1975, the programme has benefited well over 20,000 children with various types of disabilities across the island. The Honourable Derrick Kellier, Minister of Labour and Social Security, spoke to the benefits afforded through working together to achieve developments in the Special Needs sector, saying, “The completion of these classrooms is a true testimony of the increased productivity that can be achieved through public-private partnership. We thank the Foundation for their vision in investing in such a critical area of human development and providing an opportunity where we can achieve the mandate of an inclusive society as outlined in VISION 2030.” The school currently serves a population of 120 students, most of who are from disadvantaged homes and enrolled in the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH). Melissa Bell, the mother of a student with cerebral palsey enrolled at ESP, explained the impact that this initiative will have on her daughter’s overall development, saying, “I can’t afford to have my daughter enrolled at the expensive facilities for her to receive high-quality care. So, I am beyond elated when I see Digicel Foundation putting in facilities that will allow her to receive the best care possible at a centre that we can afford. Now she will be able to achieve her maximum potential.” Principal and Director of ESP, Mrs. Antonica Gunter Gayle, was overwhelmed with appreciation for the initiative by the Foundation. She noted that, “All of these children have potential and Digicel Foundation has afforded them the opportunity to realise this. This is a gift that will affect not only these children but their families and the lives of other Special Needs children who will come through these doors.” The new facility at Early Stimulation Plus is only a small part of the much larger “Centres of Excellence Initiative” that aims to increase the capacity of Special Needs Schools in Jamaica through teacher training and equipment upgrades. As part of the Digicel Foundation’s 10th Anniversary, this programme will be rolled out in 10 Special Needs facilities across the nation.