The need to improve the life of communities for the good of all shall be integrated into a long term vision of both the public and private sectors. There is an urgent need to look into issues we can approach to impact our communities not only in renewable energies, and material sourcing policies, but also in community programs that can aid combating the most pressing social needs and help in the timely development of societies we live in.
With the Caribbean being a region vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, the region recently experienced three category 5 hurricanes from 2017 to 2019 (World Bank). When Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, the impact of destruction in Dominica was unimaginable. 95% of Dominica’s infrastructure has been wiped out. Similarly, we could have seen considerable damage across the Caribbean after the hit of hurricane Irma only days apart. Many efforts have been made by governments and international organizations to support the re-development of Caribbean islands and it was also then when RD stepped up to its responsibility to play an active role in re-building the most vulnerable communities.
In the second of this four-part series, we explore some of the initiatives Range Developments has adopted under the ‘Community’ portfolio and their impact on the people.
The Importance of Health Care: To become more rooted in the community, a company must understand the biggest challenges and the most pressing needs to create a real change. With health sector being the lifeline of every community, such an example is creating a program that awards excellence. We have seen such awards given to the police, for saving lives or a medical and health worker that has shown expertise in their job through innovative ideas.
In 2019, Range Developments in cooperation with the Ministry of Health in St Kitts has decided to create an award ‘Institution-Based Health Services Range Nursing Award for Excellence in Practice’ created to recognize the critical role nurses play in the health sector. Awards like these spur motivation among workers and inspire quality health services for all.
In Dominica, Range supports an organization called Keep Walking Association (KWA), in building a first of its kind facility on the island that will create prosthetic limbs. Since the Inception of KWA over the years, they have given hope and enormously improved the quality of life for over 50 people, through the provision of prosthetic limbs with instructions on proper usage and maintenance. A permanent facility will allow KWA to achieve its long-term goals in assisting people across Dominica with ongoing support and training that will lead to yet a better quality of life for residents.
Probably the most urgent need arose with shortage of healthcare facilities in the Northern part of the island after the hit of Hurricane Maria. As a response, Range has sponsored and facilitated essential restoration works of the Pier in Cabrits National Park that allowed M/V Pacific Hope, a medical ship providing general health care, eye care and dental care to dock and help hundreds of patients.
Social Infrastructure and Amenities: With the lack of diversification in skills development programs and scarcity of social amenities across the Caribbean islands, there is a vital need for fully active community centers that would provide a variety of activities for all age groups. It has also been discovered that the engagement of youth within community can dramatically decrease the percentage of crime.
Recognizing this game-changer for personal growth and satisfaction within communities, Range Developments has sponsored the construction of ‘Range Community Center at Mount Carmel’ in St Kitts. This facility serves as a training center for young adults, organizing various skill acquisition programs and other workshops that are beneficial to all, from children to the elderly. Skills such as hospitality, public speaking, music, gardening, and mentoring kids to learn the value of giving back to the community. The Easter and summer camps for children are held at the facility every year to play but also develop valuable skills. Weekend elderly programs include domino and card playing, movies, or simple knitting. The community center also serves as Soup Kitchen where young adults have the opportunity to volunteer. Such programs boost personal development, ensure higher employability, and create stronger and happier communities.
Another such examples is restoration efforts of the community centers in Vielle Case, Tibou, Anstimei, and Penville or reconstruction of The Women Center in Portsmouth, that has since been able to hold several skill-development workshops for women such as sewing, cooking, or computer science but also serves a much-needed venue for other NGOs within the community.
Education as the Cornerstone of Every Community: Youth unemployment is one of the major problems in the Caribbean estimated between 45% – 60%. One recent study, using a database of comparable test scores for over 50 countries, finds that a single standard deviation difference in test scores between countries equates to roughly 2 percentage points in annual long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. These hold across high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries and all geographical regions (World Bank). These have shown that giving quality education is vital to the achievement of an economic goal.
Through several reconstruction projects in Dominica such as the Center where Adolescents Learn to Love and Serve (CALLS) or Isulukati Special Education School, Range has put a foothold in developing community education establishments on the island. Together with many other institutions, both educational centers have also been beneficiaries of the aid for its students, including an equipped school bags, uniforms, and additional facilities for the school itself.
Range is also a proud supporter of Ayahora Communities of Excellence Foundation Inc., a registered non-profit organization that promotes holistic education for sustainable development focused on the delivery of quality early childhood education and critical adult skills/entrepreneurship training. Ayahora’s ongoing initiatives include facilitating scholarship and mentorship opportunities, as well as supporting varied developmental work. One of Ayahora’s main projects is the development of a model “green” Inspirational Leadership Institute, along with the requisite teacher training, to which Range is a proud contributor, and which will serve as a cornerstone of educational development within Dominica’s indigenous Kalinago community.
Supporting the Development of Sport Sector: Sport is one of the vital aspects of the community today, providing much-needed purpose to the youth. Sport represents a healthy lifestyle, the mentality of ‘working with others for the common goal’, a superior employment opportunities for young adults and a vision to become great.
In sponsoring cricketer for Dominica National team and sponsoring the Windward Islands Volcanoes cricket team within 2018 to 2020, Range has made a cognizant investment in sport in Dominica. Initiatives like these improve sport facilities which are a direct performance indicator. Range has also been thrilled to find out that shortly after acquiring the sponsorship, Windward Islands Volcanoes emerged Champions of the regional Super Fifty Cricket tournament.
Our Communities, Our Responsibility
Range Developments as a company has realized its long-term vision of not only building award-winning hotel properties but also vibrant communities shortly after its formation in 2011 and started its CSR program during the building phase of its first property, Park Hyatt St Kitts. Seeing its profound impact on local communities, Range has expanded and structured its social responsibility program to create a long term change also in Dominica, Grenada and in all locations of its future operations.