A laundromat is to be established at Little Bay Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland to assist students in washing their uniforms and other articles of clothing.
This is being done against the background of water challenges impacting the community.
Principal, Keron King, told JIS News that the facility is being funded by longstanding donor partner, the UZAZI Foundation, which is based in Canada.
The facility is to be housed in the school’s reading room and will be provided with water from a 20,000-gallon tank that was recently installed at the institution by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL).
Mr. King told JIS News that the school’s management continually reviews the institution’s operations, performance, and improvement plan, “not just from an academic point of view, but in terms of the whole socio-economic [development] of the community.”
“We realised that there is no running water [in the community], and sometimes the children will complain about not getting their uniforms washed on time. So, as part of caring for our students and looking at things from a holistic point of view, we [decided] to set up a laundromat so the children can take their uniforms in, get them washed and ironed, and get their regular clothes washed here as well,” he informed.
Mr. King thanked the UZAZI Foundation for funding the laundromat’s establishment, noting that this is expected to aid in significantly building the students’ self-esteem.
“The washing machine and dryer are on their way to Jamaica; in a matter of weeks, they are going to be here. So, [for that] we are very thankful and appreciative,” he added.
Mr. King said the students and parents are “very excited” about the laundromat, noting they have queried whether the facility’s use can be extended to the wider community.
“We are looking at, first of all, serving our own children, and beyond that we will [seek to] extend [the gesture] to the community,” he indicated.
The Principal also expressed gratitude to RWSL for installing the tank, noting that as it has cut the institution’s water budget by approximately 90 percent.
Mr. King pointed out that the tank also enables the school to provide the children with drinking water and cater to the youngsters’ other needs.
He said it is anticipated that the tank will also serve to assist to the rest of the community, “in the event that we have a crisis.”
In their quest to become self-sufficient, the school has installed a generator-powered irrigation system which helps to water the institution’s garden and supply some areas of the campus with the amenity.
The garden supplies produce, such as callaloo, pak choi and pumpkin, for the cafeteria which, coupled with chickens reared for eggs and poultry meat, supplements the breakfast programme.
Approximately 80 percent of the students benefit from the programme when school is in session.
Mr. King emphasised that the school continues to take the holistic development of its students seriously, as it continues its thrust to ensure that “all the needs of our students are catered to.”