NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Eighteen teen mothers currently served by the Providing Access to Continued Education (PACE) Foundation will embark on a one year information and communications technology training program following the acquisition of a suit of computers, applications and information technology (I.T.) resources.
The Sandals Foundation recently presented and installed 15 computers and supporting resources valued at just over US $13,000 to start a new skills training program geared towards improving the digital competencies of the women who use the facilities.
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation says today’s digital age demands that women, who form part of society’s most vulnerable group, build their technological literacy.
“Today’s investment in educational programs is also an investment in those ICT training initiatives that help develop a person’s ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through various digital platforms. This I.T. training program will develop the fundamental skills that are needed to effectively live and work in this new digital paradigm.”
The program is aimed at building the capacity of students to perform entry level duties in various computer skills, be proficient in Google applications and Microsoft Office suite.
Speaking recently at the handing over ceremony, Patrice Miller, Principal at the PACE Foundation, said the newly provided computers will significantly enhance the work of the Foundation in helping teen mothers being equipped to navigate the world.
“It is most critical for the ladies to have computer training because not all of our students return to mainstream school. In the past they used to leave the program without being equipped with marketable or employable skills, but now every child that leaves will at least have had basic level training in computers and be able to seek an entry-level job.”
PACE Foundation, Miller added, has consistently searched for ways it can bring meaningful change in the lives of the women it serves.
“Our clientele is anywhere from age 13-18. The Ministry of Education’s mandatory age for schooling is 5-16. The students who come here have to connect with something once leaving. Our main focus of all programs at PACE is to prepare the students to return to mainstream school, seek tertiary education or gain employment. This new technology training will help us to meet our students’ needs.”
And General Manager at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Surinder Kahlon lauds both the Sandals Foundation and the team at PACE for making a life changing difference in the lives of the young women.
“This is a very relevant and empowering initiative that can only help to better the lives of these young ladies. I am impressed with the work of our charity arm as well as the PACE team,” he said.
The information technology training initiative forms part of the Caribbean-wide Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA) program which helps marginalized women find inspiration and strength to transform their lives.
The program is executed by the Sandals Foundation with financial support from the Coca Cola Company focusing in part on educating and training teenage girls and women in professional and entrepreneurial skills development.
The Sandals Foundation has supported several initiatives across the Caribbean aimed at creating employment opportunities for women. Sustainable projects like these are also directly aligned to achieving Goal 5 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Plan which calls for, among other things, the economic empowerment of all women.