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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Ministry of Education

Bluefields Community Association Reaps Success from IT Programme

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Bluefields People's Community Association (BPCA) is reaping success from its information technology project, which targets at risk youth and students of communities in Eastern Westmoreland. "The programme has been doing extremely well", said project chairman Keith Wedderburn, noting that over the past eight months, "we have managed to forge worthwhile relationships with a number of institutions including the National Youth Service (NYS), the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT) and the HEART Trust/NTA".

He informed JIS News that the NYS has committed to providing continuing training for graduates of the project and "we are therefore happy to report that Adrian Powell, a graduate, has since completed his continuing training and is now gainfully employed at the Mearnsville All-age School in Westmoreland".

Another graduate, Adrian Washington also benefited from the continuing training offered by the NYS, and is presently employed at a leading bookstore in Savanna-La-Mar.

The programme has also attracted three scholarships valued at $150,000 from the CIT, with graduate Petual Porter being the first recipient and is benefiting from training.

"Discussions are now underway with HEART Trust/NTA for the provision of more meaningful employment opportunities for those persons who have successfully completed continuing training", Mr. Wedderburn told JIS News.

The BPCA's information technology programme was started just over 18 months ago, with two years of grant funding from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Microsoft.With the funding, the project procured some 20 computers and associated equipment for a systematic programme of training to benefit 400 students and 240 at risk youths from the project areas.

The programme had successfully manoeuvred through the teething stages and was recording great achievements, when thieves struck late last year.

According to Mr. Wedderburn, some four computers, fax machines, telephones and colour printer in addition to other equipment valued at nearly $400,000 were stolen from the resource centre at Belmont.

He told JIS News that after appeals for assistance, "we are happy to report that Sandals Whitehouse in collaboration with Carlson Marketing Group in Canada have donated five computers and accessories to the project".

"The organization's ability to deliver on these projects has been severely affected by the loss and so we are grateful to Sandals Whitehouse and the Carlson Marketing Group from Canada for their timely response", Mr. Wedderburn told JIS News.

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