Rotary project to rejuvenate South Side Belize City with playgrounds and libraries
The mayor is building streets all over the city, but a project between Rotary Club of Belize and Restore Belize is intended to rejuvenate the south side with playgrounds and libraries. The project will also include the funding of literacy programs for youths. Earlier today, we caught with the president of the Rotary Club who explained that its counterpart in Canada has stepped in big time to assist with furnishings for the playgrounds. The first completed playground is located on the St. Martin’s De Porres Primary School grounds. Duane Moody has this report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Rotary Club of Belize has teamed up with RESTORE Belize on a three year project to assist youths in South Side Belize City. With the assistance of Rotarians from Canada, a playground was constructed on the compound at the St. Martin’s De Porres Primary School. The inauguration was held today as the students for the first time got the opportunity to test out the merchandise.
Lynn Young, President, Rotary Club of Belize
“The playground project…there is a group of Rotarians in Canada and what they do, they get these playgrounds that are being refurbished in Canada. A lot of times, they upgrade these playgrounds and they will have the older ones that they take down. So what this group does, they refurbish these playgrounds and then they donate it, along with the Government of Canada, to other countries. So they partnered with us to bring these playgrounds to Belize. Rotary has some focus each year and sometimes for several years, they might have a certain focus. One of our focus is literacy and the other is community development and this project, putting it in a school yard, we include training for the kids because there are certain—the Canadian system, they have certain playground activities to develop the kids’ minds, to develop their team-spirit and things like that.”
The installation of the playground is part of a wider project to rejuvenate South Side Belize City. President of Rotary Club of Belize, Lynn Young says the entire project, which will also see the construction of libraries and literacy programs, will cost approximately four hundred thousand dollars when completed.
“We are hoping to do at least four more playgrounds in South Side Belize City. The next location we are looking at is the Cumberbatch field in the Yarborough area. To bring it to Belize…it involves some money to ship it and all that comes out of the Rotary Fundraising efforts. You know we do a fundraising effort for Gift of Life and projects like these and so does the Rotary Clubs in Canada; they do fundraising to do projects like these. The project that we are talking about is a three year project; to do this along with libraries, computer assisted, computer-aided literacy. It is a lot of money involved. I think by the time we are finished, it will be probably about four hundred thousand dollars spent, but it is going to be all focused on South Side Belize based on the request from RESTORE Belize.”
The project also incorporated Interact teenagers from both countries. They too assisted in the construction of the playground and today spoke of why it was important for them to participate.
Kassandra Gower, Canadian Interact Club
“I felt it was important because I wanted to make a change in people’s lives and this was a way of doing that and with everyone being welcoming and supportive they helped us a lot through the journey.”
Raheem Pitzold, SJC Interact Club
“It will make a difference in terms of it will make a change in their academics as well because after school or during their spare time, they can just come and relax and enjoy the playground instead of turning towards mischief or those type of negative stuff.”
Reynerio Samos, SJC Interact Club
“As a child, at my primary school, Holy Redeemer, we didn’t have any park or anything and I felt that if I could give these children a park that would satisfy…”
Hannah Zhang, Interact Club, Lillian Osbourne High School
“I felt this project is really important because it not only brings the students of the school together, but it rallies the whole community behind supporting the playground and maintaining it. So I think it is going to have a really positive impact on the entire community as a whole.”