DREAM­ING OF A BET­TER SAINT LU­CIA - WITH A HELP­ING HAND FROM SAN­DALS FOUN­DA­TION

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Ange Fon­tinelle wants to make Saint Lu­cia a bet­ter place to live. The 17-year old stu­dent of the Sir Arthur Lewis Com­mu­nity Col­lege is study­ing hard to be­come an En­vi­ron­men­tal Economist; a job he laugh­ingly ad­mits is not one you hear many stu­dents talk about.

“We have to find ways to cre­ate jobs and wealth for our peo­ple, while at the same time re­spect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment. I want to be able to make a dif­fer­ence, and if you look at the de­bate over the pro­posed dol­phin park, you can see what an im­por­tant is­sue this is.” Ange was speak­ing at the 8th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the San­dals Foun­da­tion on Thurs­day at San­dals Hal­cyon Beach Re­sort. The young man is a proud re­cip­i­ent of a schol­ar­ship from the Foun­da­tion, some­thing he says is al­low­ing him to re­alise his dreams.

“I had the brain. The chal­lenge was the cost of study­ing. I heard about the San­dals Foun­da­tion schol­ar­ship pro­gramme and I ap­plied. Be­ing cho­sen means that the San­dals Foun­da­tion takes care of many of the costs as­so­ci­ated with study­ing, such as trans­port and books. I am very thank­ful to it for open­ing the door for me to re­alise my dreams.”

Work­ing to­ward his goal of be­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal economist is just the first step; some­day Ange wants to be­come Prime Min­is­ter of Saint Lu­cia be­cause he feels it’s the best way he can help his coun­try grow and de­velop.

Ange is one of 16 stu­dents at­tend­ing sec­ondary and ter­tiary level in­sti­tu­tions who re­ceive schol­ar­ships through the San­dals Foun­da­tion in Saint Lu­cia.

Since its in­cep­tion in March 2009, the Foun­da­tion has fo­cused on sev­eral key ar­eas of de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing com­mu­nity, the en­vi­ron­ment and ed­u­ca­tion, and has so far dis­trib­uted schol­ar­ships to over 50 stu­dents in Saint Lu­cia alone.

‘We are proud to be able to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of those around us,” said Re­gional Pub­lic Re­la­tions Man­ager Su­nil Ramdeen. He added, “In the eight years since the Foun­da­tion was launched, al­most 700,000 peo­ple have ben­e­fit­ted from its var­i­ous pro­grammes at the cost of US$36mil­lion. That’s phe­nom­e­nal, and we want to add that ev­ery dol­lar raised by the Foun­da­tion goes back into projects to de­velop com­mu­ni­ties through­out the Caribbean.”

The San­dals Foun­da­tion has in­vested in a di­verse range of projects in Saint Lu­cia in­clud­ing im­proved sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties for young men and women, ar­rang­ing free den­tal clin­ics to com­mu­ni­ties, en­vi­ron­men­tal projects, as well as train­ing pro­grammes for young en­trepreneurs, to cite just a few.

To mark the Foun­da­tion’s 8th an­niver­sary on Thurs­day, stu­dents of the Corinth Sec­ondary School band per­formed live on stage at San­dals Hal­cyon Beach Re­sort. The young mu­si­cians and singers were the high­light of the cel­e­bra­tions and ser­e­naded guests dur­ing the cut­ting of the cake.

Ange Fon­tinelle with stu­dents from the Corinth Sec­ondary School.

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