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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2023: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- At the launch of the Digicel Foundation’s Innovation Labs at the Pointe-a-Pierre Special School, its students gave a room of high-level visitors a demonstration of the state-of-the-art technology in the lab that was designed especially for them. The lab is one of 10 commissioned in special schools around the country by the Digicel Foundation to enhance the learning experience and expose students with disabilities to all that the digital world has to offer. The students were excited to test out the new equipment, and even got involved in the official proceedings to recite a poem they prepared for the occasion.

Among the attendees of the launch was Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator the Honourable Donna Cox, who enthusiastically endorsed the project and stated that “The Ministry is quite confident that the Digicel Foundation will reduce the digital divide and create avenues for quality education and enhanced standards of living for a more prosperous future.”

Abraham Smith, CEO of Digicel T&T and Digicel Foundation Board Director, reminded the audience that the Innovation Labs programme was launched last year to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Foundation. He continued, “Today I am thrilled to report that all 10 labs are almost completed. Ten labs, nearly 1 million TTD invested, but so much more value in opportunities being created and lives that will be impacted.”

Each Innovation lab has been outfitted with computers, smart TVs or interactive SMART Boards, virtual reality sets and the internet. The equipment also includes assistive devices and accessories that will aid students with varying abilities to access technology. In addition to the lab at the Pointe-a-Pierre Special School, the Digicel Foundation launched the labs at Lady Hochoy Penal, Rio Claro Learning and Development School, Lady Hochoy Arima, Charis Works Christian Academy, Wharton Patrick Special School, Audrey Jeffers School for the Deaf, and Goodwill Industries in Trinidad. In Tobago, the finishing touches are being done to labs at the Technical Vocational and Happy Haven facilities.

The Digicel Foundation’s Innovation Labs programme was made possible through strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education and The Tobago House of Assembly, who will provide training, technical assistance and support to the teachers and students using the innovation labs.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Peter Smith, offered his congratulations to the Digicel Foundation. He thanked all of the partners, including the teachers and principals of the 10 beneficiary schools, for their dedicated contributions to society. He stated, “This has the potential for a monumental impact within the education landscape of Trinidad and Tobago and the world. With the advancements that have been made in recent years, students with disabilities are now able to access the same educational resources that their peers often take for granted.”

Abraham Smith shared that it is the Digicel Foundation’s hope that these spaces will open up a world of opportunities for students and teachers, “as we continue on our mission of ensuring that no one is left behind.” He took the opportunity to encourage corporate Trinidad to increase support of social causes and become champions for society’s most vulnerable. The Digicel Foundation continues to lead by example on disability inclusion, reserving a substantial amount of its annual budget for projects that will improve opportunities for persons with disabilities.