Imagine you’re a child. Now imagine if you had a chance to go to a place of natural beauty to be yourself: to play, learn and be safe.
The Breds Foundation now offers that unique space for children in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, and surrounding communities.
Over several years, the Foundation has developed the expansive Treasure Beach Sports Park, a 17-acre space with a range of activities for children, from competition-level football and tennis to basketball and cricket; spaces for workshops, yoga and boxing; plus a challenge course that was developed with support from UNICEF.
On Saturday, the Foundation unveiled its newest additions to the park, including an instructional swimming pool, a performance stage, upgraded playground and a “Happy House” for fun and play.
UNICEF invested in the development of the swimming pool for one very important reason: to save young lives. Ninety percent of the population in Treasure Beach – an area made up of five fishing bays – is involved in fishing or water activities linked to tourism. Despite being surrounded by water, the majority of children in Treasure Beach cannot swim.
Sadly, young children and teenagers are frequent drowning victims. So, we saw the sports park as a good place to provide a safe swimming facility with supervised sessions and regular swimming lessons.
Other areas in the park are supported by partners like Do Good Jamaica, who conceived the Happy House. The philosophy of the space is centered on a primary question: what makes children genuinely happy? Activities like art and craft, dance and drama are designed to reflect and encourage the things that make children and their families feel happiest.
UNICEF’s partnership with Breds goes beyond the sports park – our collaboration around Edusport gives children a new way to learn life skills while enjoying their right to play. We all know that sport is larger than life in Jamaica. It represents more than hope – it represents opportunity. Edusport is now offered in 60 primary schools in St Elizabeth. Our partnership is expanding the programme into neighbouring Manchester with the Ministry of Education.
Together with the Rockhouse Foundation we are adding Edusport to seven schools in Westmoreland, including a model mixed-ability infant school, and with Fight for Peace, we’re introducing it to six communities in inner-city Kingston.
We are thrilled that so many children will continue to benefit from Edusport, and from everything the truly unique sports park has to offer.
For information about the Treasure Beach Sports Park, including to arrange visits, please contact Breds: breds.org
By: Mark Connolly