The U.S. Embassy is providing almost $50,000 in protective supplies to help students go back to Suriname’s secondary schools safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Lynn Williams met with Surinamese Minister of Education and Culture Marie Levens. The Ambassador brought with her a donation of boxes of face masks, crates of hand sanitizer, and hundreds of thermometers for use in all of Suriname’s 213 secondary schools.
This donation is just one of the ways the U.S. is working with its partners in Suriname and the region to combat COVID-19. Most recently, the U.S., through USAID, provided $2.2 million in regional support to help Caribbean nations address the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding advanced infection control efforts in Suriname carried out by multilateral organizations such as UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). And the U.S. Embassy continues to meet with Surinamese government leaders to explore other ways to support the shared fight against this virus with a global reach that first hit Suriname back in mid-March.
The donation to the secondary schools, helping students feel safe returning this week, is part of a long-standing program of support to the next generation of Surinamese leaders.
Two of the U.S. Embassy’s key exchange programs focus on secondary school students. The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program is a year-long opportunity for study in the U.S. Since 2009, 66 Surinamese students have taken part. The Youth Ambassadors Program (YAP), provides month-long leadership development training in the U.S. to international secondary students. Since 2013, 41 Surinamese students have participated.
Other U.S. Embassy programs supporting Surinamese students have focused on providing entrepreneurship training, IT skills, and understanding of human rights. Several of Suriname’s current political, military and business leaders have honed their talents through U.S. Embassy administered exchange programs. These programs bring our governments and people closer together – the benefits of which are evident in a fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.