One of the most important things a company can do is carry out its social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility refers to practices and policies undertaken by corporations that positively influence the world. One such company is Tropical Sun Foods. They have been in operation for the past 26 years and boast 35 products made here in Jamaica. Demonstrating their connection to customers needs during the pandemic, the company partnered with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information on its “One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative”.
Bridging the Digital Divide
The pandemic has caused the world’s education system to switch to information and communications technology (ICT)-based learning. Unfortunately, this major switch has created a digital divide between students as some children cannot utilize technology as well as others. Launched on October 29, 2020, the “One Laptop or Tablet per Child Initiative” aims to “promote inclusivity in the education sector.” Thankfully, needy students receive the technical tools to join the online teaching and learning environment through this initiative.
Tropical Sun Foods has answered a call to help our nation’s children. Both Tropical Sun Foods and its local partner Central Foods Packers donated twenty-four (24) laptops through the “One Laptop or Tablet per Child” initiative. The donations covered White Marl Primary and Junior High School and Jose Marti Technical High School, each school getting twelve devices. As an illustration, the donations represent an ongoing relationship with the two institutions for man years to come.
Jose Marti Hand Over Ceremony
The ceremony was short and spicy on the Jose Marti Technical High School grounds. It saw the likes of government officials, Tropical Sun Foods representatives, parents and teachers. Students and faculty of the 45-year old institution were ecstatic to receive the donations. For this reason, Acting Principal Ms Michele Bogle described the laptops as an “investment in students’ future”. She assured the donors and attendees of her commitment to ensuring that the laptops enhance students. She expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of Education and Youth and Tropical Sun Foods for their relentlessness in supporting students.
Chief Donor and Organizer Paul Harrison, Tropical Sun Foods’ Head of Community, shared his remarks. He expressed his gratitude to the partners for playing their part in advancing the welfare of our nation. Significantly, he challenged the diaspora to do more for our students amidst the year’s celebrations:
“Today, this is Good News being at the Jose Marti Technical High School. We’re just so honoured and privileged that we’re able to do our small part. One computer per child is the goal for Jamaica. I think the goal is 168,000 [devices]. So, this is a dot in the ocean but a step in the right direction. Tropical Sun Foods has some 35 products made in Jamaica which we are very proud of. Some of the workers at our partner, Central Food Packers, send their children to this school. It’s a joy to the workers to know that the partnership is strong.”
We care, and it’s all about people.
A big shout out to all those who support Tropical Sun. And to all the workers at the factory in Central Village. We just want to say, “we’re here for you and we are going to continue supporting you.” Paul Harrison Head of Community at Tropical Sun Foods
We All Have A Part
The Hon. Fayval Williams, Minister of Education, Youth, and Information, also shared her remarks. She expressed her gratitude to the diaspora for helping to improve Jamaica’s education sector. She also commended the teachers for their resilience and devotion to their jobs. Another critical point the Honourable Minister made charged the parents and attendees to be more invested in the educational needs of all students.
“While the government thought the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information has the obvious responsibility to provide the resources and infrastructure necessary for teaching and learning. The education of our children should be seen as a national collective project, in which we all take an interest. Whether it be in your role as parents or as caregivers or guardians. In your roles as teachers or counsellors. In your role as community members; Whatever your role may be in this society, you play a part in the education of our children.” Minister, The Honourable Fayval Williams
Additionally, the Minister shared the government’s commitment to ensuring the future of Jamaica is in good hands.
Tropical Sun Foods’ Long-Term Commitment
Tropical Sun Foods is a champion for improving Jamaica’s education system. While speaking with Mr Paul Harrison, our team could hear the passion and dedication in his speech.
The students were delighted and grateful for the timely donation. They also shared that it felt good to be chosen, recognized, and encouraged to continue their hard work. With this in mind, students Dontae Pryce and Kaylan Spence shared how they felt as recipients of the gifts. Dantae stated, “It’s a good feeling because some of the students need real help. And it can help them to progress with their education and becoming someone important in this society.” In like manner, Kaylan added, “I think it’s a very generous donation that will really and truly help us because some students really need the help in their academic life.”
The impact of the donations will last for many years. Now that students have the technology they need to perform well, it is expected that they will increase the quality of their work. Their answer for corporate social responsibility is now the standard. The collaborative effort of Tropical Fun Foods, The National Education Trust, and Central Foods Packers sets the bar high.