PM commends Project STAR’s social intervention initiatives
Prime Minister Andrew Holness had high praises for Project STAR’s social intervention programmes involving schools, as well as the various parenting initiatives which it has undertaken.
“I’m very happy to see that Project STAR is working with the schools and the communities, whether it be with the school feeding programme or training youngsters to create that bridge between schools and the world of work,” he said.
Holness gave the commendation following a recent tour of the communities of Rose Gardens and Parade Gardens that have benefited from the social interventions of Project STAR.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, Major General Antony Anderson, commissioner of police, private sector donors, and members of the Project STAR team also took part in the tour.
“I am so pleased to hear about the parenting efforts being made under Project STAR. The schools must come out and take responsibility for their students to ensure that every student is engaged,” he said after listening to testimonials from the project’s beneficiaries.
Margaret Ellis, head of the infant department at Calabar Infant and Primary School, expressed that the School Feeding Programme has helped to improve the attendance of students.
“Sometimes parents do not send their children to school for the five days because they are unable to financially afford it but with the school feeding programme everyone has a chance of benefiting so the attendance of these students has improved,” she said.
The schools that benefited from the programme were Parade Gardens Pre-Preparatory School, Highholborn Street Basic School, Real Success Basic School and Calabar Infant School.
More than 11,000 meals were served over the period. This initiative emerged out of discussions with school administrators, who indicated that a number of students were not attending school regularly due to their parents’ inability to provide money for lunch. Such programmes are part of Project STAR’s methodology to improve educational outcomes through the use of school-based support initiatives.
Speaking about the sustainability of the programme, Sharise Staines-Appleby, community services manager at Project STAR said that the participating schools will be engaged in social enterprise programmes such as backyard gardening to grow cash crops such as callaloo that can be used in the preparation of meals.
Supporting partners of the school feeding programme, Musson Foundation and Rainforest Caribbean, expressed satisfaction that the programme has been able to achieve success in such a short space of time.
Holness also encouraged more private sector companies to support the project. “Project STAR is a good start and a good example. I encourage other members of the private sector who are not yet on board to come on board,” he said.