The Government of Jamaica and Christel House entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement on July 12, 2017 which facilitates the development of a new learning center on the island – the second most-impoverished in the Caribbean. Christel House, an international NGO with a proven track record of breaking the cycle of poverty for severely at-risk children, will build its facility on a 10 acre parcel of land near Kingston, which the Jamaican government is contributing as part of a public private partnership. At its own expense, Christel House will construct a facility which will serve approximately 840 students from the severely impoverished area.
Minister of Education, Youth & Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, applauds the decision of Christel House to invest in Jamaica. “This proposed development will be a significant addition to the many safe housing facilities available for the children under our watchful care,” says Reid. “This will be a home where the children will experience love, care and security, while their education and development needs are being addressed.”
Christel House Jamaica plans to begin operations in August 2020. (One-year delay caused by timing of required approvals).The school will be built in phases, with the first phase to accommodate grades KG – 2. Each year thereafter an additional 60 kindergarten students will be admitted, and the school will grow organically until it reaches capacity at grade 13. Admission to the tuition-free school is needs-based. In addition to academics, leadership and character education, students will receive books, uniforms, transportation, breakfast, lunch and a snack daily and health services.
Christel House Founder Christel DeHaan, is delighted with the expansion announcement. “Breaking the cycle of poverty is the only way to unleash human potential and to build better societies. We are thrilled to bring a Christel House to Jamaica and we thank the Ministry of Education for its support and belief in our model and our mission.”
Fundraising initiatives will be pursued both on-island and around the world, but particularly in the U.S., where Christel House International is based. Christel House Jamaica is a Jamaican legal entity, with an independent board of directors, and its nonprofit tax status is expected to be received shortly. The organizations have no political or religious affiliations.