PHILIPSBURG - As K1 Britannia Foundation continues to look for ways to rebuild our island, it collaborated with a group of six contractors, led by Jacob Bonds of Jacob Bonds Quality Builders to bring them to St. Maarten where they volunteered their time, tools and expertise to work with the foundation to rebuild and repair a total of five various institutions within the nine days they spent on the island.
During the week of the work, over $11,500 was spent via all parties on materials and logistics to build and repair these institutions that work with our children.
The following institutions received help with repairs and construction:
- New Start Foster Home
- St. Maarten Youth Council (St. Peters Community Center)
- Tender Loving Daycare
- Busy Body Play School
- Ideal Pre-school
The help provided was much appreciated and needed to help these organizations provide for the children they work and provide for. Showing appreciation, Mrs. Benjamin of New Start Foster Home said "We appreciate the volunteers fixing our gazebo very much, because our kids now can have some where they can sit outside, play, and have lunch or breakfast."
During the construction work, two local youths worked alongside the contractors and were trained in building, construction and painting skills. The teenagers worked extremely hard and became a great part of the team and played a major role in the repairs that were conducted, and have furthered on to now get job offers in the construction field.
This program opened doors for them locally and internationally as well as taught them that with hard work you can stay on the right path and achieve your goals.
Despite the destruction around them, the contractors were able to see the beauty of the country through its people and their commitment to help each other. Aerial Stone, a volunteer echoed this sentiment by saying "I would mostly express my gratitude for the kindness that I found in St. Maarten and how much fun we had with everyone I met. Even in the face of adversity life was moving forward in a positive way."
A few of them have even promised to come back during this year both for leisure purposes and to provide further volunteer assistance.
This project was made possible through the help of:
- Karakter Curacao for the donated toolboxes, power drills, circular saws and grinders.
- The contractors who both paid their own way to come to the island, and also donated $2000 which was spent on purchasing materials and other tools from local businesses.
- SOAB who helped with a donation towards some of the building materials and logistics of this project
- Motorworld / Thrifty for donating the use of a van, which was crucial in transporting contractors, volunteers and materials during the jobs at various work sites each day.
- Kooyman for donating NAF 3.000 of materials at their store.
- Arena Base Café, for providing lunches during the week
- The contractors brought some tools with them from the US which were donated to the trainees and the foundation to continue rebuilding the island.
- Orange Grove who contributed towards the building materials and logistics
- Various other local and Dutch sponsors
Although due to limited time, the focus was on these five institutions during this project, K1 continues to work with several local institutions to find solutions to assist them with the repairs and other materials they need to get back on their feet. We are currently in the process of collecting specific materials and equipment that various institutions need which was lost during the hurricane.
As well as raising funds for specific building materials (such as hurricane proof windows and doors, etc.) that certain institutions need. During this difficult time, organizations and institutions who care for the community have had an increased workload but have been hit hard financially due to the difficulty with receiving donations and support during this time.
This is why since Irma, K1 has focused on bringing assistance to as many of these institutions and organizations as possible, initially through providing food and water, and now through helping with the material assistance needed to help them to get back on their feet and be fully functional so they can continue effectively helping as many people as possible.
The foundation is so grateful and appreciative to all of those who made this project possible — all of the sponsors, trainees, K1 volunteers, etc. — but especially to these 6 contractors who chose to help St. Maarten, despite all the devastation to their homes and surroundings with the California fires. St. Maarten and the children who have benefited from their hard work and love are thankful!