HOPE ESTATE, Sint Maarten — M. Genevieve de Weever Primary School is now the proud owner of twenty-four locally made, brightly coloured benches thanks to a donation from Island Gems Charity Foundation.
The school approached the all-woman foundation with a request for benches to place outside each classroom for pupils to utilize prior to classes or at recess. The school sourced a local woodworker to build the benches and paint them in fun bright colours.
Island Gems, which focuses on education and projects with long term impact in the community, was happy to fund the project. The group made a twist to the benches with the addition of name plates. Each bench has the name of a tree, plant of flower that can be found on the island.
“The benches are not only useful, but educational. Pupils are curious to learn more about the bench names and they also have a sense of ownership with their ‘bench.’ This was evident when some gems members attended a school assembly. When asked which bench was by their classroom, pupils eagerly exclaimed: ‘lily,’ ‘coralita,’ ‘orange saga,’” said Island Gems President Alita Singh.
Singh was accompanied to the school by fellow Gems Anu Amarnaney, Alita Singh, Asha Stevens, Kerisha James, Jody Rosen, and Hanisha Alwani. They were taken on a tour to see the placement of the benches by School Acting School Manager Anna Grantham-Halley and Acting Adjunct School Manager Beryl Lake.
This is not the first time Island Gems has assisted the public school. In the past, the foundation donated 100 recorders (training flutes) for pupils to learn music in theory and practice.
Island Gems commends Hays Hanson of Mont Blanc Woodworks in Cripple’s Gate, St. Martin, for his craftsmanship and attention to detail.
“Island Gems strived as much as possible to support local craftsmen and suppliers. This project met a lot of our expectation. It was combined both sides of the island – French side craftsmanship to benefit a Dutch side school. Island Gems is a charity supports causes on both side of the island so this was really a landmark project,” said Singh.
Island Gems raises money to support projects on both sides of the island via its one and only fundraiser – an annual costume gala dinner. That dinner was held recently and the foundation has already embarked on seeking out new project to support.
The foundation does not give any cash and only support projects and programmes of legally registered foundations and organizations. Funding requests can be submitted to Island Gems members. Requests must have a motivation letter and pro forma invoice for products or services. Island Gems funds projects on a merit and long term community impact.
Photo: De Weever School Acting School Manager Anna Grantham-Halley and Acting Adjunct School Manager Beryl Lake flank Island Gems members Anu Amarnaney, Alita Singh, Asha Stevens, Kerisha James, Jody Rosen, and Hanisha Alwani on one of the locally made benches donated by Island Gems.