Lorna Lewis (right), principal of Bridgeport Primary School tours the infrastructural upgrade done at the school with Jodi-Ann Bowen (second at right), monitoring, evaluation & special projects officer at the JN Foundation; Camal Briscoe (third right), director of Alison Construction and Roberts Stephens, technical consultant at the JN Foundation.
When students at the Bridgeport Primary School in St Catherine return to face-to-face classes, they will be entering a safer environment, where commuting to school will be much easier.
This is because the school has received infrastructural upgrades, including sidewalks, road signs, and a newly painted crosswalk. The work was conducted under the X-Marks the Spot initiative, a school crosswalk road safety campaign being implemented by the JN Foundation, in collaboration with UNICEF and the ABERTIS Foundation.
Lorna Lewis, principal of the school, said the institution was grateful for the infrastructural upgrade.
“We are extremely pleased and we are grateful to the foundations for all that have done for us. Not only the students have benefitted, but also the community members, in terms of where they would wait for the buses; and even for the cross walk, which has been repainted to make it safer for our boys and girls when they return to face-to-face classes,” she informed.
Jodi-Ann Bowen, monitoring, evaluation & special projects officer at the JN Foundation, said the organisation is happy that the school has been made safer, as a result of the improvements to road safety infrastructure.
“Road safety is one of the priority areas of the JN Foundation, and we are happy that through our donor partners, the ABERTIS Foundation and UNICEF, Bridgeport Primary School has benefitted from such improvements,” she related.
She also noted that children should be protected at all cost, as they are vulnerable members of the population.
Samantha Gayle, education support consultant at UNICEF, who has responsibility for the road safety programme, said she was grateful to have upgraded Bridgeport Primary School, which did not have any safe road infrastructure in the vicinity.
“I’m glad that we were able to complete a major part of the work and the quality of the work done is in keeping with our standards. I wish that the students were here at the moment, so that we could actually see the impact it has on them,” she said.
The school crosswalk campaign was initiated in 2018 and is focused on encouraging advocacy and discussions about road safety in schools and households.
Hazard Primary School in Clarendon was the first school to be upgraded under the campaign. The educational institution benefitted from the erection of signage for bus lay-bys; and pedestrian gates as well as, the widening and paving of the sidewalks.
The campaign was informed by a Child Road Safety Assessment Report commissioned by the JN Foundation, which provided the baseline data, to improve the safety of children on roads, particularly near, or on their way to school.
The research identified specific schools and zones, where children were most vulnerable to incidences of road traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These areas required specific infrastructural and/or safety interventions, both at the physical and social levels.