The Zero Hunger Trust Fund (ZHTF) has come in for high praise from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday morning, Dr. Gonsalves congratulated the Fund for having commenced the distribution of financial assistance to students who are beneficiaries under its “adopt a classroom programme”.
The programme which was implemented in 2016 has been designed by the Zero Hunger Trust Fund to assist children from communities with the highest levels of poverty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with meals and other basic necessities to ensure that they attend school regularly.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said there are 295 Kindergarten students receiving support under this programme.
The 12 primary schools benefitting from the programme are Chateaubelair, Barrouallie Anglican, Barrouallie Government, Fair Hall Primary School, Sandy Bay Government, Fancy Government School, Mayreau Primary school, Rose Hall Primary School, Clare Valley Government School, Calliaqua Anglican School, Lauders Primary School and Gomea Government School.
Dr. Gonsalves said the value of the support to each child is approximately $1,500.
The components of the programme are: the provision of meals each day, the provision of all text books recommended by the Ministry of Education and $350 to each child to assist with the purchase of school uniforms and other school supplies.
In addition, the students will undergo regular medical checks and will be assessed by reading specialists.
The Prime Minister said there are currently three programmes being conducted under the Zero Hunger Trust Fund and another programme is to be started soon, whereby repair works will be carried out on the kitchens at various Primary schools.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be funding that programme to the value of 500,000 US dollars.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves is appealing to business owners here to make donations to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund as it seeks to carry out its mandate to reduce poverty and hunger in this country.
Dr. Gonsalves said that businesses which contribute toward the fund can choose to treat the contribution as a tax deductable expense.