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Rita and Claret join support for DigiKidz

PHILIPSBURG--Foresee Foundation, founder and operator of the DigiKidz Project which aims to bring 21st century information and communications technology (ICT) education to all classrooms, announced recently that it has received the official endorsement of Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Rita Bourne-Gumbs and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Claret Connor.

Foresee Foundation and the DigiKidz Project Team said they were excited and encouraged with the ministers' support.

According to Foresee President Jose Sommers, these endorsements support the core concept of Foresee (also abbreviated as "4C"): setting up innovative projects through communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, what she calls "the way forward for 21st-century learning."

The endorsements, in joining the foundation's plans to raise funds for upcoming projects, are "fully in line with the modern vision that in strong communities, government, the business sector and other organisations and non-governmental (NGOs) jointly work together on achieving the ambitious goal of bringing ICT into all classrooms in St. Maarten."

As evidence of this vision becoming a reality, as a result of a recent fundraising event at Moomba Restaurant, Foresee has received cash and in-kind funding of nearly US $100,000 towards future projects.

In her letter to Foresee, Minister Bourne-Gumbs said, "With the ever-changing innovations in technology and learning, we value the initiatives of the Foresee Foundation and its DigiKidz project. With that said, the Minister officially endorses the DigiKidz project for the advancement of Technology in Education in St. Maarten."

She also encouraged the formation of educational partnerships and called on private business and community organisations also to endorse and further support the DigiKidz project.

Minister Connor, also by letter, acknowledged the important need to bring technology into the nation's educational system and expressed his support to the DigiKidz project in "its effort to bring 21st-century learning through ICT to the students of St. Maarten."

He reiterated that the "Government of St. Maarten recognises that the ICT education initiative is one that all students can and will benefit from."

Foresee said it would continue in the coming months to "walk the talk" with its fundraising drive, following up on a number of scheduled meetings and commitments with the private and public sectors.

Both United Telecommunication Services (UTS) and TelEm Group, which both sponsor various causes and events, although usually not the same ones, are also lending support. Foresee said it was proud that both were doing so in the name of education.

UTS gave early endorsement in October 2013 and currently is in talks with Foresee to provide additional wireless Internet and network infrastructure support.

TelEm offers free Internet connectivity to all DigiKidz projects and was mentioned by Minister Connor in his endorsement of the DigiKidz projects.

In addition to these premier sponsors, Rotary Club St. Maarten Mid-Isle and the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) also have pledged their premier support by sponsoring the next DigiKidz School.

The next school is yet to be announced, but at the last event indications were given that it most likely would be Hillside Christian Schools' Helmich Snijders Campus.

Foresee Foundation was founded and the DigiKidz Project launched in 2013. As the result of a remarkable grant provided by Windsong International Foundation, a total of US $500,000 was invested in three DigiKidz projects: the equipping of two primary schools and a DigiKidz Medialab at Philipsburg Jubilee Library.

More than 2,000 children have participated and profited from these projects to date, and the team said it was looking forward to bringing the experience to all children.

The three projects have been very well received, explained Sommers: "The 'secret' formula for success lies in the comprehensive approach. ... In addition to bringing IT devices into the schools, strong emphasis is put on the network structure, training of staff, close collaboration with school boards and management, and the creation of ownership among all stakeholders, including pupils (the "Digi-kids"), teachers, parents, management, school boards and the larger community."

The project's impact was exemplified at the last fundraiser, where schoolteachers relayed their experiences, gave interactive "classes" to the gathering and showed video of pupils in action, making practical use of technology to communicate, learn and play.

For more information, see

digikidzsxm.com or find DigiKidz on Facebook. The team can be reached at 581-5050 or

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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