Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica Website
Sunday, 09 August 2020


That's the spirit! The destruction of Hurricane Maria behind them, everyone at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is more excited than ever about books, reading, and the school library.

Hurricane Maria, the deadliest, most destructive hurricane in Dominica's history, did not defeat the spirit of the staff and students of Jones Beaupierre Primary School. Principal Martha Stephenson and her teachers vowed that the hurricane would not take away the gains in child literacy that they'd made with their school library. The extensive rebuilding of the school would include—of course—the repair and resurrection of the school library. The students' love affair with reading must continue.

“Because of the library the children have become more excited about books, and their literacy skills have grown,” said Principal Stephenson. “The dedication and determination on display at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is tremendous,” noted Tom “T. L.” Linskey, Co-Founder of Hands Across the Sea. “We are proud to award the 2018-2019 Hands Literacy Award, which comes with USD $1,000 of new books, to the school.”

With hurricane recovery mostly complete at the school, the library at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is better than ever—colorful, welcoming, child-friendly, a magnet for students of every grade and reading ability. Hands Across the Sea wishes to recognize and celebrate the dedication of Jones Beaupierre Primary School to the advancement of child literacy.

“Many other schools on the island were severely damaged by Hurricane Maria, and many school staff and students lost their homes, belongings, and loved ones—almost every school on Dominica is in a stage of post-disaster recovery,” Linskey said. “There are many stories of recovery and resilience across the island. The spirit of Jones Beaupierre Primary School is an inspiration to us all.”

Hands Across the Sea is dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children on the islands of Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. Since founding the organization in 2007, Hands Across the Sea has shipped over 464,000 books to the region through its Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) program. The CLASS program, in concert with each school’s Hands Wish Lists (school principals, teachers, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers tell Hands which books they need), works in three ways: 1. Send Great New Books; 2. Create Lending Libraries (usually a school library); and 3. Foster Sustainability of the library through support at the school, the local community, and the hands-on efforts of on-island Hands Literacy Links.

On Dominica, Hands Across the Sea has assisted 86 school libraries and reading programs with
98,495 new amazing books, reaching 11,710 children. Hands Across the Sea partners with Rosalie Bay Resort, Scotiabank Bright Future, the Sandals Foundation, the Rotary Club of Dominica, Dominica Marine Center, and the New Zealand High Commission, Bridgetown, Barbados, while working closely with the Ministry of Education.

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