SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO has partnered with the Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation to launch the pilot afterschool program for introducing the Art of Stilt walking and Moko Jumbie culture in primary schools as an extra-curricular activity. This initiative is a part of UNESCO and the Ministry of Education Culture Youth and Sport (Culture Department) aim to stimulate local institutions to engage in the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) attributes of Sint Maarten.
The program was held at the Sister Borgia Primary School where St. Joseph, Martin Luther King and Oranje school students came together to participate on Wednesday afternoons. Participating students were between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. Initially the program set out to accommodate 10 students, however 29 students participated.
On Monday 21st June participating students were able to give a presentation at the Sister Borgia School to showcase their learnt skills to the entire school. We received great enthusiasm from students, parents and school staff about how exciting the program was. Several students were able to start walking within the first week’s others found it more challenging and required extra care. The foundation would like to acknowledge the trainers and assistance Quair Hodge, Sue-an Agol, Leroy Walcot, Hika Hughes and John Walcott for their hard work for training with the children weekly.
All participating students received a certificate for their commitment to the program. We hope to have inspired more students to participate in the program for the next school year and we will be extending the participating age to student 5 to 12 years of age. We encourage other schools that would be interested in the program to reach out the Unesco SG Marcellia Henry at Marcellia.Henry@sintmaartengov.org in order for provisions to be made on time.