Donation to expand Samuel Haynes Institute Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

His Excellency Hiroshi Mitsuya, Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan and Barbara Elrington of the Pickstock Development Association signed the agreementThe Government of Japan made a generous donation to the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence on Monday, March 26, under its Grassroots and Human Security Grant Projects (GHGP).The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence was opened on February 28, 2009 and is perhaps the best community resource center in the entire country. It is located at the corner of Mahogany and Oleander Streets and serves the people of Pickstock and Lake Independence.

The center is both an educational and recreational child-friendly space. It is managed by the Pickstock Development Association, which is made up of a group of celebrated volunteer teachers. Barbara Elrington, President of the Association, is described as the glue that keeps the program together. The institute provides music lessons to children in the community. Those children make up the Samuel Haynes Band that has performed across the country. The band plays modern and classical music and the members not only play but read music as well. The center also provides training for residents such as sewing lessons, cosmetology classes, subsistent farming techniques and entrepreneurship.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Area Representative for Pickstock, is the driving force behind the institute. When he started the project, the building had one level that was without windows, doors and a roof.

He invested his own money and attracted donors to refurbish and expand the structure. The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence is now a two-storey well-furnished and equipped community center.
It houses classrooms for PSE students and a computer room for research projects. The compound is properly landscaped and is home to two greenhouses, a chicken coop and rabbit hutch. The greenhouses have melons, peppers, cucumbers, cabbages and other produce. The coop has over a dozen laying hens and a rooster. The hutch has rabbits that provide fertilizer for the crops. While Minister Elrington is extremely proud of the success of the institute, his vision is nowhere near completion. It is for that reason that the committee proposed an extension project.

The current structure is not big enough to house all the projects that Minister Elrington wants to launch at the institute. Based on the success of the institute, the Government of Japan has dubbed it worthy of support. His Excellency Hiroshi Mitsuya, Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan, signed an agreement with the Pickstock Development Association for USD $111,635 to expand the structure housing the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence. Upon the completion of that project, Minister Elrington said that the institute will house a salon, souvenir shop, laundromat and a vegetable and fruit shop that will provide the basic needs of society while creating means of long term employment for residents of the area. He said parents will be able to “do their laundry, get their hair done and shop while waiting for their children to finish evening classes”.

Besides the Government of Japan, organizations that have contributed to the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence since its inception are Belize Telemedia Limited, UNICEF, the Social Investment Fund, Tropical Gaming Company Limited, the Government of Belize and NEMO.