More than 2,000 digital tablet devices donated from the Sandals Foundation have helped students across the Caribbean get online for classes and access distance learning instructions.
The tablets were acquired following a social media ‘Lessons Alive’ fundraising campaign.
The new devices, which were sourced in partnership with islands’ education ministries, will serve a range of needs including disabled, at-risk children in marginalised neighbourhoods and vulnerable students within the formal education system.
Lessons Alive was launched in August to help families across the Caribbean prepare for the new academic year. The organisation expanded the reach of the campaign in October to target sourcing digital tablets to help with the growing remote learning needs.
The digital learning situation across the seven countries in which the Sandals Foundation operates – Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia, The Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados and The Turks & Caicos – were all assessed and intervention provided as needed.
Sandals Resorts International and foundation president Adam Stewart said: “We are humbled by the overwhelming support and encouraged by the spirit of community service that continues to ring true even in the toughest times.
“Our regional and international partners answered the call of our Caribbean home and I am extremely humbled by and grateful for the level of intervention we have been able to make. No doubt, this will have a positive impact in the lives and future of our kids.”
Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation, added: “When we began our Lessons Alive campaign, we knew we wanted to help our islands meet their digital learning needs in a tangible way, but we had no idea of just how things would evolve.
“We are humbled to be able to serve multiple communities of children, many of whom would possibly go undetected and under the radar but whose access to education and the tools to engage in remote learning is just as or even more important.
“It was very important for us to help make the transition to online learning as easy as possible.
“The digital transformation within our education system is inevitable. We must ensure our children are digitally literate and there is equitable access to the technological tools so they can continue their learning.”
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