The importance of education in the recovery was highlighted so brilliantly in Sam Branson’s video, with a touching story of young girl setting up a school in her own home after Irma.
Over the course of Unite BVI's history we have remained committed to our belief that investing in our next generation by supporting the enrichment of education and youth empowerment is one of the greatest ways we can have a positive impact. Prior to Hurricane Irma we supported education initiatives like buying computers for the local library on Virgin Gorda, building an early childhood education resource centre at a public elementary school, donating towards impactful youth programmes like the Youth Empowerment Project on Tortola, repairing playgrounds and hosting youth forums where youth could be inspired by world changers and community activists.
After Hurricane Irma the majority of schools were structurally damaged and so with generous donations received to help the BVI recover Unite BVI was able to rebuild the only secondary public school on Virgin Gorda, The Bregado Flax Educational Center (BFEC). A hurricane reslient new high school building was constructed consisting of 12 classrooms, a new septic system with 10 bathroom stalls. And In 2020, solar panels will be installed demonstrating what is possible with clean energy technology.
With the support of generous donations from guests of Necker Island, the BFEC's school's playground has also been repaired, picnic tables have been donated, a shaded area for students to have lunch and assembly has been designed to protect students from the sun, musical instruments and science equipment have been donated, the school garden has been enriched, recycling bins have been set up and computers have been donated.
As part of a larger collaborative of donors, Unite BVI has contributed to over 1,000 Chromebook computers being donated to The Ministry of Education for the benefit of high school students and teacher's across the BVI. Teacher training has been funded so that these technological resources can be embraced in such a way that leads to the enrichment of educational delivery.
On Jost Van Dyke, Unite BVI partnered with the Soggy Dollar Bar & Restaurant to donate a nanogrid library and media resource centre (powered completely by wind and solar) for the benefit of the public school during school hours and the community outside of school hours. The nano-grid tech capabilities of this centre were designed to be able to double in function so that should another natural disaster affect the power infrastructure on the island, the community would have a resilient source of power.
We have continued to provide funding to the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and Mentoring Anointed Leaders Everywhere (MALE), two fantastic youth empowerment organisations in the BVI. These grants have enabled them to enhance their engaging youth programmes, purchase mini-buses so that they can expand their reach across the BVI and take their youth members on field trips, offer psychosocial support services, has helped build a computer lab for YEP and fund the professional development of youth leaders at the NPOs. Over the years we have supported youth programmes that scan a broad range of focuses from enriching literacy skills such as Write to Read, to learn to swim and scuba dive programmes, to archery, to tennis lessons and games for youth on the autism spectrum.
These are just a few of the many various investments we have made in our next generation through enriching education and youth empowerment opportunities.
After the devastating hurricane season of 2017, Unite BVI invested grant funding to support disaster risk reduction and community response and resilience training. Team Rubicon UK, a disaster response charity that built an impressive reputation in BVI whilst working with local and international partners and the local community in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, delivered a series of disaster preparedness, response and managment trainings in 2018 funded by Unite BVI. This training was offered free of charge to local non-governmental organisations and community groups and individuals to help them best self-organise and be prepared to respond effectively in the event of another disaster. As Unite BVI acknowledges that capacity building is very important for the resiliency of the BVI, we also provided funding to support an NGO coordinated effort, in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management and The Rotary Club, to train CERT teams (Community Emergency Response Training) in 13 communities across the 4 main islands in the BVI.
Read more about our education work here.