July 21st, 2020 – Since the closing of schools in March, almost 100,000 students at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels of education have been out of school for an extended period of time. In an effort to bridge the learning gap, the Ministry of Education made a decision to re-open schools earlier than normal. To ensure the safety of students, regular handwashing, wearing of masks and physical distancing are now mandatory. In most of our schools countrywide, however, physical distancing would be an issue as most of their furnitures are benches, which accommodate up to three students. In order to be physically distant at a minimum of three feet, schools would need to acquire individual student arm chairs.

The Ministry of Education reached out to the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund committee seeking financial assistance to provide much needed classroom furniture to pre-primary and primary schools that are in dire need. The Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund committee immediately agreed to assist with the provision of armchairs for 105 schools across the country.

Today, Mr. Lyndon Guiseppi, Chairman of the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund, met with Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the General Managers of the various school boards including Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian and Government schools, to formalize the arrangement and to hand over the donation in the amount of $200,000.00. The funds will be used to purchase 4,425 individual student arm chairs that will ensure physical distance for the re-opening of schools across the country.

Dr. Babb extended a heartfelt thank you to Lord Ashcroft, Mr. Guiseppi and the Relief Fund committee on behalf of Hon. Patrick Faber, the General Managers of schools and the entire Ministry of Education for the generous support given to the schools. She continued, “The MOE’s mantra is “Education is Everybody’s Business” and you have demonstrated that belief with the generous donation, especially in these unprecedented times”.

On behalf of Lord Ashcroft and the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund committee, Mr. Guiseppi welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Ministry of Education on this initiative. Lord Ashcroft has always been an avid supporter of Education in Belize and pledges his continued support to Dr. Babb and the Ministry of Education.