When the new school term opens in September, Secondary School students will be encouraged to learn about the benefits of their own homegrown fruits, with a view to adopting healthy eating practices. Among the avenues which will ensure that students become exposed to this knowledge will be a number of competitions in which they can take part. This is as result of an initiative launched by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in the form of a Fruits and Vegetables Poster.

Reviewing the posters with interest are from left Mr. Edme Henry, Senior Agricultural Assistant, Soil Conversation Unit, Mrs. Debra King, Director Corporate Communications, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Mrs. Joy Adamson, Deputy Chief Education Officer for Schools in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and Mr. Nasser Khan, producer of the posters.

The colourful and educational poster was developed by Nasser Khan, a Trinidadian author and researcher, who initiated a similar project in Trinidad and Tobago with resounding success. At the Launch in Barbados to a number of Secondary School teachers, he confirmed that he did it because he had found that children in the Caribbean knew more about and loved fruit from overseas more than they knew and loved local fruit. He stressed that the high import bills in the Caribbean was another reason behind this poster campaign which he plans to take to every country in the region. So far, he has been successful in getting localized posters done for St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Barbados.

Debra King, Director of Corporate Communications at CIBC FirstCaribbean, in explaining the Bank’s involvement, noted it was part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility and a project done through the CIBC FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation. She further confirmed the importance of teaching children about the indigenous fruits of their island, and making them aware of healthy options for inclusion in their diets.

“We hope that these posters will generate interest among our young people, and that the competitions we are organizing to promote them will lead to learning even more about the various fruits“, she stated as she introduced the competitions which will include 2 essay competitions for Form 1 and Form 2-3 students.

The selected topic for this age group is ‘Why Fruits and Vegetables are an important part of our diet.’ The younger students will be given a 250 word limit while the older students a 750 word limit with a minimum of 400 words.

A Recipe competition between Forms 4-6 will encourage students to present Beverages, Preserves, Candies, Savoury/Sweet pies or Cakes utilizing the local fruits and/or vegetables. The students will be vying for an exciting range of prizes.

Mrs. King also expressed thanks to Mr. Edme Henry and Mr. Steve Skeete from the Ministry of Agriculture who were instrumental in doing the research and development of the local information and in working with Mr. Khan on the nutritional information for the posters.

Mr. Nasser Khan, producer of the posters addressing principals at the launch of the posters to secondary schools.

In endorsing and applauding this work of the Bank, and the team who developed the posters, Deputy Chief Education Officer Mrs. Joy Adamson, referred to recent statistics which show the increase in obesity in children and the instances of non-communicable disease which has shown up in 1/3 of our children, including Type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma and cancer.

She pleaded for a change in lifestyle and asked for a concerted effort from the school boards, teachers, PTA’s, canteen operators and anyone involved in children’s welfare to take note and prepare more healthy meals and generally steer children towards a healthier lifestyle.

It is planned that the competitions – both for primary and secondary students, will be launched in the schools in September and the winners will be judged and announced in November.

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