Sun | Aug 19, 2018

French Embassy funds school for the deaf's play area

Published:Thursday | July 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Jean-Michel Despax (centre), ambassador of France to Jamaica, and his wife, Line Despax (left), at the handover of a symbolic cheque to the Jamaica Association for the Deaf at the Embassy of France in Papine yesterday. From second left are Tamara Hill; Cecelia Levy; Valerie Facey, chairperson of the Jamaica Association for the Deaf; Maureen Simmonds, principal of the Danny Williams School for the Deaf; and Sharon Andrews.

Students at the Danny Williams School for the Deaf will soon be able to spend playtime in a modern, custom-built area thanks to the French Embassy in Jamaica.

Officials of the embassy yesterday donated more than $2 million raised during a charity gala dinner, Gout de France (A Taste of France), held in March, to the school for the development of a play area on the school grounds.

French Ambassador to Jamaica Jean-Michel Despax said that they saw the need for a place where the children at the school could play.

Principal of the school, Maureen Simmonds, who accepted the donation, told The Gleaner that there was a great need for a safe play area.

"We have a raw area, and we recognise that we do have students with multiple disabilities. We have young students, and we do not have proper playing facilities. So, when the French Embassy came on board, it was just a joyful feeling," said Simmonds.

She said that they are happy "to see that this is now being materialised into funds that can begin and, hopefully, end the process of resurfacing an area, ensuring that we get some playing toys that will allow our students to develop in a holistic way".

Simmonds said that the partnership with the French Embassy came about through the efforts of the chairman of the school board and chairperson of the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Valerie Facey.

Sasha-Kaye Kemble