Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
The global site for cruising sailors
Sections
You are here: Home / Countries / Dominica / Dominica Still Needs Help! We Just Did Not Know

Dominica Still Needs Help! We Just Did Not Know

By Joan Conover SSCA — last modified May 26, 2016 03:14 PM
Joan Conover, the SSCA Cruising Host Coordinator who works with people internationally to help cruisers and communities, has sent noonsite the following report after the hugely succesful Dominica Yacht Appreciation Week, February 14th - 21st, 2016.

Published: 2016-02-29 00:00:00
Countries: Dominica

Dominica Still Needs Help! We Just Did Not Know

Roosevelt Douglas Elementary School courtesy of Magoe Johnson

During the Dominica Yacht Appreciation Week, Feb 14-21st, we had the opportunity to visit the local elementary School, Roosevelt Douglas Primary School, Portsmouth Commonwealth of Dominica (RDPS), with Magoe Johnson of www.macarioadvantage.org.

Imagine my shock to discover a school having funding cut to an extreme level, all due to Hurricane Erica damages last summer. It does make sense, the island's road and other critical infrastructure were severely damaged, the government is only able to fund bare minimums of public services as it deals with the financial aftermath of the disaster. The government is doing the most they can with a limited budget, the same as any individual facing a natural disaster of this magnitude.

For a public school this even comes down to needing toilet paper for the restrooms.

At RDPS, we found a devoted principal, Mr Terry Wallace, and his staff working to provide high quality education while facing tremendous logistical issues. School supplies or clothes for a student (black shoes!), lunch program/or at least one meal a day for a student-if needed, is coming directly out of Mr. Wallace's pocket. Meeting his wife at an event, she smiled and said, yes we do it (use their own funds) for the children. While I am sure the students will obtain an education, it would be so much better if some of the financial pressures could be eased for students and administrators.

What is also sad, NO ONE KNEW of the needs; the boats that came south for the event could have carried assistance in the way of supplies.

Arriving vessels can contact Mr. Wallace at his rosezelle05@hotmail.com email address, or Mr. Huburt Winston (Seven Seas Cruising Association Cruising Host) at info@dominicamarinecenter.com.

If they know a vessel is coming, they can make arrangements for customs and for pickup. Items can also be left at the Portsmouth Authority for Yacht Security (PAYS) office, marked for the elementary school, in Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth Dominica. For money donations for RDPS, they can be sent to Mr. Terry Wallace, at the below address, Western Union. This effort is similar to a finger in the dyke, but if the immediate issues facing the school(s) such as Roosevelt Douglas can be assisted, it could prevent many future problems for these children.

RDPS (Roosevelt DouglasPrimary School)
Sandwich Street 
Portsmouth
Com.  of Dominica
Email:
rosezelle05@hotmail.com

Again, we were extremely impressed with the efforts being made to overcome very difficult funding issues. 15 classrooms made out of the space for 12. Administration areas moved to small storage areas to let children have room for classes. The PTA works to provide a type of 'lunch' or snack for children - there are no seats or cafeteria to eat in; children stand and munch on packaged snacks/chips. That's 'lunch' when no lunch room or chairs even are available. And some children without funds, 'go home for lunch' mid day. They may not return for PM classes missing even more schooling. The outside standing area, its open to the sky and to rain, its not paved, so can either be very muddy or flood. There are issues with providing simple basics such as toilet paper. There are no screens or windows or doors-no air conditioning; with the fear of ZIKA, here you have the young girls and young boys of Dominica's future. I am sure there are no funds for mosquito spray....

Having said all that, the school is spotlessly clean; things that can be done with parents and  PTA volunteers are done. They have dedicated teachers and administrators who care desperately; every items is treasured in the library with their carefully organized reading materials. The children are well dressed in uniforms and smiling; they trust the adults will correct the issues. My fear with these problems is due to the young age of these students, once a child slows down or skips areas of elementary learning--it will hard if not impossible to catch up. And that is when the dropouts start-when its too difficult to face school work, or even go to school due to lack of basic tools.

This school needs help and if cruisers can bring items and leave as gifts for Roosevelt Douglas Elementary School, then it will take one more stress off the principal who is doing everything he can to make ends meet.

Boats could bring the following items as 'gifts' (the customs word) to help:

  • Dry Erase Markers for Whiteboard (Assorted Colors)
  • Construction Paper
  • Glue/Glue Sticks
  • Toilet Paper (*see note above regarding this item)
  • Thumb Tacks
  • Paper Clips (small & large)
  • White Chalk
  • Assorted Color Chalk
  • World Maps/ Caribbean maps/Globes
  • Heavy duty staplers
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Rulers
  • Correction tape/fluid
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • First Aid Kits
  • Copy Paper(white packages/xerox is the copier)

Joan and Greg Conover
SV Growltiger
SSCA CS Coordinator
Commodores

Share |
Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 26, 2016 03:13 PM

18 May – from Joan Conover:
The prinicipal of the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School (RDPS), Mr. Teddy Wilson, emailed me yesterday. He was very aware and very very excited about the delivery of $150 US in school suppliesfrom SY Wildcat.
What a wonderful donation, directly to those needing a little hand up to success. The children of RDPS are becoming aware of a larger community of people who wish them well, in all ways. Thank you from us all, those cruisers and citizens who care for the children who are our future!

We are planning to expand efforts to assist during the next cruising season.
Offshore Passagemaking Opportunites, Hank Schmidt, has asked for another Dominica support event during the next Yacht Appreciation Week in February 2017.

Joan Conover
SSCA CS Coordinator
SV Growltiger

Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business