The SJF is committed to the support of literacy skill development and the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language. Given that speaking foreign languages in this increasingly knowledge-based, inter-connected global world is of paramount importance. This is especially true in Jamaica, surrounded by millions of Latin American people with whom Jamaicans interact and do business.
In addition to supporting a successful intensive summer course in the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language and hosting the close to 50 teacher participants at the Hotel Riu, Ocho Rios, in 2012, the SJF also launched a scholarship programme for students of Spanish at Teachers’ Colleges. In recognition of Jamaica’s celebration of 50 years of Independence, The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF) awarded 50 scholarships worth JD50,000 each, totalling JD2.5m, to 50 pre-service teachers studying for their diplomas and degrees in the teaching of Spanish. In addition, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain, The SJF also promised to provide grants to 50 in-service Spanish teachers to access the Cervantes Institute’s acclaimed online teaching of Spanish programme – AVE or Aula Virtual de Español.
SJF SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME AT MONTEGO BAY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (MBCC)
Beginning in 2012, The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation initiated a scholarship programme at the School of Hospitality at the Montego Bay Community College which equips young Jamaicans to work in Hotel and Food and Beverage Management, Hospitality students are required to take Spanish and seven (7) scholarships were awarded totalling JD500,000. In addition, The SJF organizes the monthly visit of an employee from one of its member companies to share cultural facts, dances/traditions and practice the use of Spanish with the students during their Spanish Club meetings.
Read Across Jamaica Day
Beginning in 2012, The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation coordinated the participation of all of the embassies representing Spanish-speaking countries in Jamaica in the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s (JTA) annual Read Across Jamaica Day. Read Across Jamaica Day is staged each year on the 1st Tuesday in May. Participating in this outreach activity seems ideally suited to these goals. These volunteers, led by the Spanish Ambassador and president of The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, H.E. Celsa Nuño, marked the importance of reading and learning Spanish as a foreign language by reading in 13 schools to over 500 students in total. The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, along with the Embassies of Spain, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the European Union Delegation, also donated age-appropriate reading materials in Spanish totalling close to JD100,000. The SJF plans to expand its participation in this programme to include areas in close proximity to its members companies beginning in 2013.
NAZ Children’s Centre – a Mixed Ability School in St. James
The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation is committed to ensuring that children with special needs enjoy equal educational opportunities. As a result the SJF has decided to support the outfitting f the nine classrooms at the soon-to-be constructed new home of the NAZ Children’s Centre in Montego Bay. The SJF has also partnered with VIP Attractions, which has created a travel lounge at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, to mount a display featuring NAZ Children’s Centre, highlighting the SJFs involvement, and to seek ongoing donations. The SJF looks forward to expanding this partnership to Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport and supporting another mixed ability school based in Kingston, Genesis Academy. This partnership is intended to assist both schools in offsetting operational costs and expand their services to more children, especially those with financial challenges.
International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day is observed each year on September 8. The day seeks to raise awareness of, and concern for, literacy issues. In 2012, The SJF was pleased to partner with the Ministry of Education, the Jamaica Library Service, and the Jamaica Reading Association and participate in an event marking a national celebration of reading. The SJF also donated sets of 50 books (including local titles, bilingual titles and titles that teach elements of peace and non-violent conflict resolution) to 10 primary schools that teach Spanish and are located in close proximity to the SJF member companies. In addition, in recognition of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence, cultural heritage poster sets were also donated.
The SJF launched of the “En Español” section in the Jamaica Observer’s new children’s publication, with The Learning Corner in September, 2012. Each weekly issue of contains a section dedicated to the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language.
School Supplies Donation
At the beginning of the 2010-2011, The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation donated close to 100 different literacy and numeracy teaching supplies to the 4 primary schools in the West Kingston Area. The Foundation was approached by representatives from the Ministry of Education to assist in supporting schools in the area affected by the spate of civil unrest in May 2010. Collectively, close to 500 children directly benefitted from the donations, which were aimed at enhancing the learning skills of both under and over achieving students.