Japan continues to give to Belize despite disaster

In the midst of surviving the worst natural disaster in modern history, the government and people of Japan continue to support important environmental and cultural projects in Belize.

Ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Japanese Ambassador in Belize Hiroshi Yamaguchi presented a US$2.7 million grant to the Government of Belize to help improve the lives of children in Belize’s  Maya communities last week.

“The objective of this grant is to improve the health and nutrition of children in poor Maya communities through an early childhood development approach focusing on prenatal care, nutrition monitoring and school health interventions at the primary school level,”  Mr Yamaguchi said during a signing ceremony in Belize City March 18 2011.

Japan is still reeling from the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant crisis that has kept the country in desperate rescue and emergency mode since March 11 of this year.

Chaa Creek general manager Lucy Fleming, who earlier this month publicly thanked Japan for funding a solar energy project in Belize said she is humbled by this latest example of Japanese generosity.

“We first and foremost wanted to express our heartfelt sympathy for the Japanese people. Japan has been a very good, generous friend to Belize, and our hearts go out to them in this very difficult time.

“And now, to see the Japanese Ambassador present this generous assistance to the Maya people of Belize while his own nation is struggling shows what a strong and resilient friend Japan continues to be. Along with our sympathy comes great admiration,” Ms Fleming said.

Mr Yamaguchi said the grant is to help support the children of Belize Maya communities through a program fostering early childhood development. “The issue of health and wellness is a fundamental commitment of the government of Japan,” he said.

Earlier this month the Japanese government pledged US$20 million to build a $20 million photo-voltaic solar energy grid on 2.04 acres of land at the University of Belize.

“With Green sustainable development and Maya culture integral parts of Chaa Creek’s focus, we have been following the Japanese assistance with great interest and gratitude. To see the Japanese people continue to supply assistance in their own time of need is very moving indeed. It is difficult to express fully our gratitude and respect,” Ms Fleming said.

The EU also continues good work in Belize

In addition to Japan, the EU continues as one of the largest grant donors to Belize and recently reopened its technical office in Belize.

The office is headed by Cosimo Lamberti Fossati , the head of the EU Technical office in Belize.

“Since Independence we have been working with the government of Belize to help the country develop. We work with five years plans and we partner with the Ministry of Economic Development identifying the areas of intervention and up to now have been working a lot in the rural areas, covering the entirety of the country every single district,” he said.

“In the past year or so since climate change is such an important issue in Belize we have also been working with Government as well regional organizations to tackle the problem of climate change.

“We have been building schools in the villages (and) we have at the moment two programs that just started, one in November on primary education, because a great number of teachers unfortunately are really qualified for teaching and the idea is to give them the possibility to qualify while working and yesterday we launched the program for the secondary education that had the same sort of scope.”

Fossati said his office is engaged in discussions with Government of Belize to identify the priority areas in which EU funds are used.

Chaa Creek applauds and continues to support the valuable contributions of our global partners to help Belize develop as an independent, environmentally and socially responsible nation preserving some of the world’s richest biodiversity and cultural legacies.

For further information, and see how you can help promote responsible travel, subscribe to the Belize Travel Blog or contact us via email at marketing [at] ChaaCreek.com.

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