The quiet rural community of Pear Tree River in St. Thomas was abuzz, when we joined students, parents, staff members and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) for the official handover ceremony of a remodeled school for Special Needs. Formerly Pear Tree River Primary School, the building will accommodate 60 students aged 13 to 21, doubling the number of available spaces for Special Needs students in the parish. The school focus will be on life skills and vocational training programmes, including agriculture, cooking, sewing, carpentry, tiling, and data entry.
Pear Tree River is the second Special Needs institution we’ve renovated in St. Thomas. It will serve as a “sister school” to the Lyssons School for Special Education, which was renovated in 2018 under the Foundation’s Special Needs Centre programme. That school is now fully subscribed with 60 students enrolled. Our Special Needs partnership with the MOEYI has also enabled the renovation and construction of five schools with the Special Needs Unit.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, in her remarks, expressed her appreciation for Digicel Foundation’s commitment: “They have just been consistent in their support for the education sector.” Speaking to the community members at the handover, she added: “I want to implore the community here to support the school in its activities, the care of students and the property. Special commendations to the staff who worked diligently for our students.”
As a part of our mandate, we’ve ensured that the newly renovated building meets all guidelines for safety and accessibility with a new perimeter fence, paved roadway for vehicular access, wider doorways and ramps for wheelchair access, upgraded roof, electrical rewiring, and other fixtures.
The school has already begun accepting students with parameters in place for distance learning and plans being set for when the MOEYI resumes face-to-face classes.