Japan's Gift To Food For The Poor Improves Lives for Jamaica's Children

COCONUT CREEK, FL (Oct. 20, 2009) – In rural parts of Jamaica where sub-standard pit latrines are used instead of flush toilets and children do not have basins to wash their hands, Japan’s government is ensuring through Food For The Poor that modern day restrooms be constructed on several school grounds. More than 1,600 school children and staff from 10 different schools will directly benefit from the Japanese Embassy’s generous donation.

Robin Mahfood, President and CEO of Food For The Poor, said he is grateful for the Japanese government’s decision to grant the gift to needy children in Jamaica. Mahfood envisions a day when these school children, the future of the island, will thrive in a modernized school setting.

“It is no secret that there is a direct correlation between good, sound facilities and the quality of an education for a child,” said Mahfood. “Thanks to this outstanding gift from the Japanese Embassy, the caliber of the students’ education will exponentially increase. Attendance will go up, and school will suddenly be a much safer place to learn. All of these children will now be able to wash their hands and use a modern flush toilet, greatly decreasing the level of health risks they’ve been having to combat all their lives.”

Earlier this year, representatives from Japan and Food For The Poor toured schools located in rural parts of Jamaica with Food For The Poor administrators. That visit spurred those officials to replace the unsanitary and even dangerous conditions of the pit latrines for the school children and staff of at least 10 schools. 

Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi, in signing the grant said, “I take great pleasure in participating in another great step that will bring about a collaboration with the people of Japan and, in this case, the young people of Jamaica. No country can develop without investing heavily in its people, in its human resources. I look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration.”

This grant of almost $100,000 marks the first time Japan’s Embassy has partnered with Food For The Poor and their mission to help the poorest of the poor.

These 10 schools are part of a larger group of Food For The Poor’s “Flush for Life” Islandwide School Sanitation Project launched in December 2006. Since the project’s inception, a total of 33 schools have received upgrades improving the lives of more than 6,000 students in Jamaica.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. We provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.



Aimee Vignola
Public Relations Associate
954.427.2222, ext. 6079