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  • Writer's pictureClara

9 Schools Get Electronic Devices From TOCO

31 August 2020

Ahead of the reopening of school in September, TOCO Foundation, led by Goodwill Ambassador Taj Weekes, has delivered 196 electronic devices to nine primary schools from each educational district.

The schools were identified based on the recommendations of the Department of Education, based on an assessment of their ICT needs. The devises will be used to augment the inventory of their ICT labs, ensuring that schools are better equipped to accommodate students who do not have internet access at home.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries provided logistical support to the TOCO Foundation for the transshipment of the electronic devices, while the Ministry of Education, Gender Relations Innovation and Sustainable Development presided over the selection of eight of the nine schools.

Last Thursday, the principals of Balata Combined, Vide Bouteille Combined, Bocage Combined, Millet Primary, La Ressource Primary, Augier Combined, Mongouge Combined and Fond St. Jacques and Marchand Primary Schools participated in a short handing over ceremony hosted by the Department of Education.

Chief Education Officer Dr. Fiona Mayer presided over the ceremony, expressing thanks for the donation which she said answers the considerable need for student access to learning platforms, but through schools. “The problem of lack of access that many of our children are facing can also be answered by equipping schools, which can accommodate children; many of whom do not even have internet access at home,” Dr Mayer said.

TOCO Chairman Taj Weekes, who attended the handing over ceremony virtually, reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to the cause of Saint Lucian youth, especially in the area of education, skills development and sports. Ambassador Weekes expressed gratitude to the Embassy of Saint Lucia to the United States and the Ministry of Tourism for their assistance in transshipment of the devices from Dubai to Saint Lucia.

In related news, the National Youth Council, also received 200 pairs of shoes this week from the TOCO Foundation, towards its Pledge For A Child Initiative drive. According to NYC PRO Edison Layne, the initiative identifies areas children in need across Saint Lucia and provides the support they need, particularly in the area of education and schooling.

TOCO is a registered 501(c)(3), U.S. based, not-for profit organization with a mission to raise awareness and address the issues that affect Caribbean youth through advocacy and social support. Its broad focus also includes the environment/ climate change, Sustainable Agriculture, Diabetes and gender.

Taj is an unwavering, energetic humanitarian whose dedication extends beyond his song lyrics into his social activism, that has culminated in his official role with the United Nations as “UNICEF Champion for Children” (2013) and his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO).

Weekes' humanitarian work has been a staple of his celebrity, using every opportunity to serve and speak on behalf of the children of the Caribbean. He personally travels and distributes donated items to the islands, lectures to high school and college students on topics ranging from volunteerism to acceptance and tolerance, and donates his own money to ensure that TOCO can fulfill its missions. His efforts are at the core of TOCO’s success and in recognition for his work, Weekes was named a Goodwill Ambassador by the International Consortium of Caribbean Professionals in 2007 and by a division of the United Nations.

In 2012, he received a humanitarian award from the Saint Lucian government for his work through TOCO and in 2020, he was named a Goodwill and Brand Ambassador for his native Saint Lucia.

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