From left are: Claret Connor, Keith Graham and Axel van Trotsenburg listening to students.
Axel van Trotsenburg (second right) in conversation with a culinary student and chef Marco Brakke (right).
Sergio Walsarie Wolff (right) welcoming the delegation.
CAY HILL–A delegation from the World Bank led by the new Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean Axel van Trotsenburg, paid a working visit to the Hospitality First Training + Education (HFTE) programme recently.
The HFTE was the first major programme to receive recovery funds from the World Bank and was the first stop on the World Bank delegation’s two-day working visit to St. Maarten last week. The delegation was received by President of St. Maarten Training Foundation Keith Graham and HFTE Programme Director Sergio Walsarie Wolff. Accompanying the World Bank officials on the visit were St. Maarten Steering Committee Member Marcel Gumbs, Netherlands Steering Committee Member Frans Weekers, World Bank steering Committee Member Tasheen Sayed, Director of the National Recovery Bureau Claret Connor and representatives of different ministries and stakeholders.
The visitors were given an explanation of the HFTE programme and a tour of the facilities. Time was reserved during the visit for the delegation to engage in conversations with students and receive their feedback about how hurricane Irma has changed their lives and the effect the HFTE programme is having on them.
Van Trotsenburg was particularly interested in the human side of the story and made a good connection with the students who opened up to him and shared their experiences, HFTE said in a press statement.
“He was impressed by the resilience of the students and the progress being made as a result of the HFTE programme.”
The HFTE programme is a central part of the Emergency Income Support and Training Project (EISTP) which is financed through the World Bank. Enrolled students receive financial support (stipend) for attending classes and successfully completing the programme, as well as medical coverage and a small transportation allowance. Hospitality classes are given at Hillside Christian Schools’ Asha Stevens Campus and Culinary classes are taught at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA).