Back to School

Our “Back2School Initiative” 2014/15 provided uniforms for a number of children.

I can’t help but share this one with you… Just the joy from knowing that their uniforms are secured a week before the commencement of school would have lifted a great burden off their parents and guardians. Uniforms that are pristine, not washed- out, ripped or ill-fitting!

We continue to make progress in this area and have been extending our reach in terms of the numbers of children we are supporting, and the scope of assistance. Rob Walcott, the KASSSI Treasurer has provided a current overview of this initiative:

Treasurer's Back to School Report 2014.

KASSSI Treasurer’s Back to School Report 2014.

Petersville Sc Children

Petersville All Age School Children

The children pictured above are from the Petersville All Age School; one of the three schools that we support. (No, they are not in their uniforms!!) Thank you for your continued support; we cannot do it without you!

A note from the KASSSI CEO, Garth Walcott regarding School Uniform:

The “Back2School Initiative” 2014-15. When visiting Jamaica you can’t help but notice how neatly turned out the children are; the boys in khaki suits with razor- sharp seams and the girls in pleated skirts of vibrant colours… wow… stunning! Is it true that in Jamaica if parents cannot afford School uniforms, the children cannot attend school?” If this is the case… how prevalent is it? Yes it is true to some extent. During these difficult times family members or even neighbours may be able to provide help of secondhand clothes, shoes or (seldomly) money etc. On the whole this degree of deprivation is not widespread, but rather concentrated to small rural communities or a few inner city areas, where youngsters can be seen at the corner of certain streets being frivolous. The system is not perfect with high unemployment, crippling debt repayments and low educational attainments. Unfortunately this recipe will see some children falling through the cracks.This is where KASSSI comes in supporting children in rural communities in Jamaica West Indies… We understand and fully appreciate the benefits of children going to school equipped and prepared to learn.

Our “Back2School Initiative” provides Uniforms and other essential provisions. However we concentrate on Uniforms specifically because, in our opinion, a uniform provides a number of advantages for instance: Uniformity & equality, so everyone starts off with a clean slate so to speak and pupils are judged by their interactions as opposed to their clothing or money etc (uniforms are best when they are not torn, washed out or ill- fitting… particularly short or tight!)Bullying on the basis of who is wearing the latest trainers or tracksuit is taken care of.. this allows children to ‘fit in!’ The pressure to decide what to wear every morning is also alleviated! Of course we know that the bulky bag is carrying more that a PE Kit!

From a financial point of view, non- uniform could be enormously stressful for a family on minimal or erratic earnings. Uniforms are also non-provocative… (when the girls are not turning the waist over several times!) another safety element. Additional safety is provided when the school goes on outings.. pupils can be seen easily and offered protection and guidance. Equally, when pupils are out dressed in their uniform they are less inclined to get up to mischief (I think) as they can be identified at least as a pupil from a particular school etc. The uniform further promotes a sense of belonging and pride in the school, identity in the community and assists the pupils in being focused. KASSSI has bought in to the philosophy that “If a student looks like a student and feels like a student, they are more likely to act like a student.” We are acutely aware that…“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – – Nelson Mandela R.I.P.

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Ted is the KASSSI website's administrator and along with Benjamin Walcott is responsible for the development and management of the site.