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Recovering from Ivan: Schools reopen in Grenada

© UNICEF Barbados/2004/Charles
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Karin Sham Poo (right) demonstrating to students the contents of the School-in-a-Box kit.
ST. GEORGES, Grenada, 22 October 2004 – The Permanent Secretary in the Grenadian Ministry of Education, Mr. Michael Pierre, today applauded UNICEF’s efforts in helping Grenadian children get back to school in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. Mr. Pierre’s comments were made during his meeting with UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Karin Sham Poo.

Ms. Sham Poo is in Grenada to attend a ceremonial distribution of 223 School-in-a-Box kits, 100 recreational kits, and an abundance of school supplies, all provided by UNICEF. The ceremony marks the reopening of schools in Grenada and takes place at the Grenada Boys Secondary School on 22 October.

Over the past five weeks, Grenadian children were forced to stay away from classes because their schools were either extensively damaged by Hurricane Ivan, or were pressed into use as shelters for those who had lost their homes during the storm.

© UNICEF Barbados/2004/Charles
Schoolgirls describing to Ms. Sham Poo what life has been like since returning to school. Left to right: Jenelle Sandy, Karin Sham Poo, Foyola Noel and Jiselle Sandy.
“When students are not back in school, the country is stagnant. UNICEF has been great in helping schools to reopen,” said Mr. Pierre. “We started with 21 schools, and today 41 of the primary schools are operating on a shift system. In addition, all secondary schools are at some level of operation.”

UNICEF, along with other organizations such as USAID, has been instrumental in assessing the damage done to the schools, clearing debris and providing tarpaulins for temporary cover. All of these actions have contributed to enabling classes to resume.

During the hour-long meeting, Ms. Sham Poo reassured Mr. Pierre that UNICEF would continue to offer support for Grenada in the years ahead. “We will continue to assist and to find innovative ways of getting the needed funds for Grenada,” said Ms. Sham Poo. “We would also like to use Grenada as a model in demonstrating how to care for children during emergency situations.”

Mr. Pierre noted that, although children were returning to their classrooms, there were still many challenges ahead. Teaching materials, such as science lab equipment and textbooks, were among the many items still in short supply. Students will also need vitamin supplements, since their diets are now often inadequate.

Ms. Sham Poo reiterated UNICEF’s support and indicated that UNICEF would carefully monitor the progress of all programmes and ensure that they are sustained.

During the day, Ms. Sham Poo also met with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development,  Ms. Eunice Sandy-David. Ms. Sham Poo emphasized UNICEF’s pledge to provide further programmes to help children cope with the psychosocial impact of the hurricane’s devastation.




22 October 2004: After the hurricane, UNICEF’s ‘Return to Happiness’ programme helps Grenada’s children smile again.

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22 October 2004: UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Karin Sham Poo describes her trip to Grenada where she attended a ceremony for the reopening of schools and distributed school supplies to the children.
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