School Supplies still needed in Dominca’s Schools

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, school supplies are needed here more than ever.

Published 4 years ago

Update – 29 October, 2018

It would be very much appreciated if boaters can bring some items on their boats for the Clifton Elementary and Salybia Elementary schools in Dominica. These are easy items that many of the boaters may already have that they can give,  or buy new.  We prefer boaters to drop off supplies at Smithy’s. We will have items sent to these schools.

Smithys is a restaurant with an outside eating area (tables with umbrellas etc) and a new dock just down from the PAYS dock..for dingy tie-ups. They are located midway along the Portsmouth main road into town, south of PAYS pavilion. The building is the three-story BRIGHT YELLOW building seen from the harbour. Owners: Ann and Jeff.


– Inexpensive world globes

– 2 sets of encyclopedias  (new or gently used )

– 4 3’x3′ or larger dry-erase whiteboards

– assorted dry easer markers

– Reams of Copy paper


They have a nice garden class for approx. 25 students and are in need of:

– gardening gloves for kids

– garden tools (towels & hand rakes)

– 4 small hoes

– 4 small garden rakes

– 4 heavy-duty plastic watering cans

– 3 water hoses 50′

– potting soil

– vegetable seeds

Magoe Johnson

Update – 20 November, 2017

Boats could bring the following items as ‘gifts’ (the word to use for Customs) and leave them with P.A.Y.S.:

Picture Books/flash cards for learning math and letters, words

Construction Paper

Glue/Glue Sticks

Toilet Paper (biodegradable)

Thumb Tacks


Paper Clips (small & large)

White Chalk

Assorted Color Chalk

World Maps/ Caribbean maps/Globes

Heavy duty staplers





Correction tape/fluid

Pencil sharpeners

First Aid Kits

Copy Paper(white packages/Xerox is the copier)

Tupperware containers

USED Sails (they can make sun protecting areas in the courtyard with them)

Dry Erase Markers for Whiteboard (Assorted Colors)-checking on the status of whiteboards..could be damaged.

And I would add blackboard paint, and bug spray. They don’t have screens on the windows/doors.

We had/have a bench project, but the current situation has overtaken this effort. Of course, dollar donations are always welcome. PAYS will have a donation area set up at PAYS/Portsmouth for any boats with gifts. And GIFTS are what is put on the customs form. Contact [email protected] on arrival at PAYS or ask Jeff to tell the school items are there.

A lot of school supplies were sent from Bequia to Grenada after Hurricane Ivan, and the shopkeepers were very kind about giving good prices when they knew where the supplies were going.

Posted February 29th, 2016

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 successful Dominica Yacht Appreciation Week, February 14th – 21st, 2016.

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

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 a 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 [email protected] email address, or Mr. Huburt Winston (Seven Seas Cruising Association Cruising Host) at [email protected].

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


Com.  of Dominica

Email: [email protected]

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’ midday. They may not return for PM classes missing even more schooling. The outside standing area, its open to the sky and to rain, it’s 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 item 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


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  1. March 15, 2019 at 5:55 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    18 May – from Joan Conover:
    The principal 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 supplies from 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