Minister Thwaites said the donations have facilitated the construction of 54 infant schools islandwide, through partnerships involving Food for the Poor, and the Sandals Education Foundation, among others.
Speaking at an education session, titled: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Partnership for Education Transformation’, the Edfucation Minister commended members of the Diaspora for their contributions.
Rev. Thwaites said the figure “is a conservative estimate… because, many times, the gifts and the donations are not known.”
He pointed out that their contributions continue to facilitate the provision of meals for students; the payment of examination fees and transportation costs; as well as the purchase of books, which many parents are unable to afford.
“Small money goes a far way when it comes in foreign exchange, and this is what we are seeking…it is not a question of fund-raising, it is a question of ‘friend-raising’ and we have friends all over the world,” the Minister said.
The education session formed part of the scheduled activities at the Diaspora Conference, being held from June 13 to 18, under the theme: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity’.
More than 1,600 delegates from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are attending the conference.