SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) – On Tuesday, June 1st, Dutch‐based foundation Childfund Sint Maarten hosted a ceremony at the Helmich Snijders Hillside Christian School, where the chairman, Mr. Gerrit‐Jan Greven, presented 26 schools with vouchers for school uniforms.
The foundation has a mission to ensure that all children, regardless of background, can have a proper school uniform and feel a sense of belonging to a school community. Mr. Greven comes from a police background and was stationed on the island in 2018 after Hurricane Irma had devastated the island.
It was then that he realized how many families struggle financially, and that even the smallest donation can make a big difference for some. Some children were not even going to school because the family couldn’t afford their uniforms.
“A uniform represents a school’s identity, traditions, and values. It also diminishes classes so that those from less privileged backgrounds can feel equal to those with more fortunate circumstances”, stated Mr. Greven.
“$100 can be a tremendous financial burden for some families, so 15 students have been selected from each school to receive new uniforms for the upcoming school year”, continued Greven. The voucher project adds up to approximately USD 40,000 for this year alone and the foundation plans to raise more funds to donate uniforms annually to students.
Each school has selected 15 vulnerable students to receive at least two school uniforms for the 2021/2022 school year. The student will receive a $100 voucher to present to the uniform suppliers, which in turn will be reimbursed by the foundation.
“It’s a very simple process for all involved, with a great reward for some of the less fortunate children”, explained Greven.
The project is financed by the Ministry of Justice and Security and although postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Childfund St. Maarten was finally able to carry out its mission this week. After the presentation, Angelique Romou, MP, and Hubert Duffisfrom the Martin Luther King School both gave their thanks to Mr. Greven for the hard work of the foundation.
Lastly, Mrs. Asha Stevens‐Mohabier of Hillside Christian Schools expressed her gratitude to Mr. Greven for the initiative.
“It is thanks to people like Gerrit‐Jan that we as a school can focus on the education of our students. These charities put their efforts into the details, like school uniforms, so that educators have one less thing to worry about. From the bottom of all of our hearts, thank you.”, concluded Mrs. Stevens.
School representatives at the Childfund St. Maarten presentation.