New Gulisi Community Primary School
On Wednesday November16th the new Gulisi Community Primary School was officially inaugurated on near the Garifuna Monument site in Dangriga Town.
The project, which will benefit over 140 students, was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and was financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $371,000.00 through the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI).
The new school is comprised of a one storey reinforced-concrete building measuring 121 feet long by 30 feet wide with a 6 foot verandah. The building includes four classrooms (24 ft. by 25 ft.) with two movable partitions and a male and female bathroom block. The building was constructed to accommodate a future second storey. Solid timber doors and aluminum storm guard windows were installed. The community of Dangriga provided arm-chairs for the children while SIF also provided furniture in the form of teachers’ desks and chairs, book shelves, cupboards and blackboards. The new school will serve as a shelter in the event of an emergency.
The Gulisi Community Primary School, which is managed by a Board of Directors in collaboration with the National Garifuna Council, came about as a result of the overcrowding of other elementary schools and the distance of the growing and expansion of residential areas and population growth in Dangriga Town. The primary school is located some 1 1/2 miles north of Dangriga Town at the Garifuna Monument Site and Museum. However, shortly after being established the Gulisi Primary School outgrew its space rapidly due to swift growth in student population.
The Gulisi Community Primary School is very unique among other schools in Belize and the Caribbean in that it links the knowledge of the ancestors with the curriculum of the Ministry of Education through an Intercultural Trilingual Education programme – English, Spanish and Garifuna. In other words, Gulisi Community Primary School enables the child to be rooted in the community while preparing him or her to take his/her place as a citizen of the world. In addition, the school has also played an active role in the promotion and preservation of the Garifuna culture.
Established in April 2007, the school has students up to standard 3 but classroom space was needed for the upcoming standard 4, and in the near future for standards 5 and 6. Due to the overcrowding situation, the upcoming standard 4 students had to be accommodated in the Museum. The Gulisi Community Primary School also operates a pre-school, which is housed in a rented building adjacent to the main school building.
The keynote speaker at the official inauguration of the project was the Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education and Youth. Other speakers included Hon. Arthur Roches, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Area Representative for Dangriga. Addresses were also delivered by officials of the Social Investment Fund and members of the Gulisi School Management and P.T.A.