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It might come as a shock to many to learn that a school, and one meant for children with special needs no less, has been the target of miscreants multiple times in the span of a year. That is precisely what has happened to the Mickhail Betancourt Early Stimulation Centre of Excellence in Orange Bay, Portland. In the recent incident at the institution, the offenders caused extensive damage to the building. This may have been due to the frustration which they felt when they could not find anything of great value inside the school. Some appliances appear to have been stolen; the management of the school has now issued a statement lamenting the attack.
A Charitable Institution with a Cause
This venture to support children with special needs in Jamaica is a three-way partnership between Donovan Betancourt’s KB Foundation, the Digicel Foundation and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It has been named in memory of Mickhail Betancourt, the deceased son of Donovan Betancourt. The Mickhail Betancourt Early Stimulation Centre of Excellence has been functioning for around 3 years and has approximately 100 children with special needs being taken care of.
Children Traumatised by the Break-ins
A statement on the break-in was issued by Jean Lowrie-Chin, Chairperson of the Digicel Foundation. She has decried the recent break-in and lamented the fact that the school had to be closed for two days on account of the crime. The dastardly act by the unknown criminals has left the place shattered and has deprived the children of food and education. The centre offers hot meals for these children. The damage to the school and the loss of some appliances has disturbed the normal routine of the school. The ultimate sufferers are the children.
The least that the authorities can do now is to catch the thieves and punish them for their crimes. If there are ways in which the school can be offered protection and security, such options must be explored. The Chairperson’s statement concluded with a commitment to dedicate themselves to the needs of the children with special needs on the island.
Digicel Foundation’s founder, Denis O’Brien, had earlier committed J$337 million for the facilities which serve the special needs community. This fund is meant to be used for the building of new structures or extensive renovation of the facilities located in Jamaica.