Children in Sunday Wood Village, one of the most remote communities in the Toledo District, will soon have a new school building. The school project will be launched during a ground breaking ceremony on Thursday morning at the project site in Sunday Wood Village.
The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund at an approximate cost of $422,000 and financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.
The project intends to provide a one story reinforced-concrete building 25ft wide by 120 ft long including a 6ft verandah. The works include construction of three (25ft by 30 ft.) classrooms with two movable partitions, a male and female bathroom block and a principalís office. The foundation will be designed for a two storey building in anticipation of future expansion. All internal and external walls will be plastered and painted. The building will include solid timber doors and aluminum louvered windows. Provisions of electrical, plumbing, water supply and waste water systems in accordance with the regulation of respective authorities will be included in the project. Furniture and a solar panel system will also be incorporated. The building will be used as a shelter in the event of an emergency.
The southern region of Belize has traditionally been considered the most under-resourced part of the country. The Toledo District, where the target community is located, has 46% of its population living in poverty. Sunday Wood Village was established in 1984 by Ketchi Mayas and has a population of approximately 358. Most of the villagers depend on subsistence farming.
Their main crop is rice, which is sold at the Rice Mill in Big Falls. The farmers also cultivate beans and corn for family use.
The Sunday Wood RC School is a multi-grade school and has an enrollment of 107 students and 21 pre-school children. There is one main concrete building, which houses Infant 2 and Standards 1 & 2. The wooden building which houses Standards 3, 4, 5 and 6 is in a deteriorating condition. There is no ceiling on this building, which creates an uncomfortable environment due to excessive heat during the dry months. The zinc on the roof is dilapidated causing children to get wet when it rains. The thatch roof building, which houses the pre-school and Infant 1, is also in poor condition.
The guest speaker at the project launching will be Hon. Peter Eden Martinez, Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation and Area Representative for Toledo East. Other speakers will include Mr. Joseph Cayetano, Assistant Local Manager for RC Schools in the Toledo District, representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Social Investment Fund as well as the Sunday Wood Village Council and the Village Alcalde. THe Guardian