Student welfare programme bolstered as Osborne Store officially opens new greenhouse gifted by Scotiabank Foundation

Kingston, Jamaica – October 10, 2023 - Students of Osborne Store Primary and Infant School in southwestern Clarendon are elated at a new greenhouse project geared towards boosting the welfare support offered at the institution. As part of its Labour Day annual outreach, in May this year, the Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation provided $1.8 million to aid the construction of the greenhouse as part of its drive to support economic resilience among youth, households, and communities. The project was delivered in partnership with the Food for the Poor organization.

The greenhouse, which was formally handed over on September 27, is an expansion of a sustainability project seeking to further expose the students to agriculture. Surplus and B-Grade crops will be sold to the school's canteen and the profit will help finance the maintenance of the greenhouse and contribute in a major way to the school’s students’ outreach and nutrition programme.

Speaking at the official handover ceremony, Scotiabank Branch Manager Craig Richards commended the school for its vision and said, “this greenhouse project aligns well with our philanthropic outlook, which is to help individuals, households and communities build economic resilience in a sustainable way so that they can thrive despite the circumstances faced.” He also noted that the Bank has had a long history of supporting youth initiatives and empowering young people through various avenues to success.

Although 26 per cent, of Osborne Store's 310 enrolled students are on government welfare, many needy children are not beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education. At least 50 students benefit daily from the school's feeding programme.

Avalyn Henry, principal of Osborne Store Primary and Infant, said that the greenhouse project “adds vibrancy to the school's farming programme with cash crops such as pumpkin, corn, potato, callaloo, and sweet pepper.”

"The partnership with Food for the Poor and Scotiabank has sewn seeds of inspiration for our school feeding programme. Nutritional support is vital in boosting the teaching and learning process as it bridges the gap for vulnerable students and should improve educational outcomes overtime,” Henry said.

She is also hoping that the deepened focus on agriculture will enhance interest in understanding the industry, making it more attractive as a career option for students. Osborne Store Primary and Infant already has a rich tradition in agricultural education and production, hence, the greenhouse experience can only add necessary value. The school's focus on the promotion of farming has helped to position it as a model primary institution, buttressed by its record of award-winning achievements in the field of agriculture through the 4H Club. 

Scotiabank's partnership with local charity Food for the Poor Jamaica is expected to have a transformational impact on the students of Osborne Store Primary and Infant School, who live in predominantly low-income communities such as Four Paths, Toll Gate, Gravel Hill, Comfort, Osborne Store and Ebony Park.