PAHO donated 120 planter boxes to 120 schools in Suriname to celebrate the 120th anniversary

2 Dec 2022

Group picture of excited students around the planter boxes with Minister of Health Dr. Amar Ramadhin and PAHO/WHO Suriname Health Systems and Services Advisor Dr. Rosmond Adams.

Suriname, December 02, 2022 (PAHO) – On 2 December 2022, the Pan American Health Organization celebrated 120 years as a specialized public health agency in the Americas, collaborating with and supporting the countries of the Region to improve the health and well-being of their populations. Celebrations have been and continued to be held throughout the Region at the country, sub-regional, and headquarters levels, to highlight the historic public health gains made by our member states and catalyzed through PAHO's work and technical cooperation.   

The PAHO country office in Suriname joins these celebrations in collaboration with the Ministry of Health as their main national counterpart, with the main focus to raise awareness about the contribution PAHO has made in the Region of the Americas highlighting the work that has been done in Suriname through the hosting of three (3) events over the next year highlighting the contribution of PAHO to public health in the country.

I want to congratulate PAHO with its 120 years of existence and in Suriname 70 years.  It is very important to recognize this day, the importance of the technical contribution and cooperation with the Ministry of Health in Suriname in reaching different goals in our health sector such as immunization, pandemic outbreaks and other areas of health.    

We have been very grateful that the PAHO has used all their possibilities to support Suriname, not only in financial support, but also technical support and assistance on a policy level. Together with the PWR Dr Karen Lewis-Bell, I have committed myself as Minister to have a solid collaboration between the MoH and the PAHO for the next 120 years. We demonstrated this commitment with the design of our new office facilities where the PAHO will have a special place to further strengthen the collaboration.” stated the Minister of Health Dr. Amar Ramadhin

For the opening event in the yearlong observation, 120 schools received planter boxes with demonstration and instructions on how to grow their own vegetables and encourage students to grow their own vegetables at home. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Education facilitated this by providing knowledge, and project support in the school selection process.

PAHO/WHO Suriname Health Systems and Services Advisor Dr. Rosmond Adams highlighted that "We hope that this initiative will inspire the children to take an interest in the origins of their food and make better choices about what they put on their plate. Growing your own food has many health benefits. It promotes eating more fresh fruit and vegetable. I hope that this initiative will not remain only with these 120 schools and that today’s launch will serve as a springboard to have more schools involved”.

Mrs Sewpersad of the Ministry of Agriculture mentioned that “in celebration of PAHO's 120th anniversary, they have decided to donate 120 planter boxes to 120 schools. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries thinks it is a good initiative by PAHO to place the boxes, so that students learn how to plant their own vegetables and be motivated to start their own vegetable garden at home.  Encouraging the placement of planter boxes in schools not only boosts the agricultural sector, but also provides cheap, healthy and safe vegetables.  Teaching children to eat healthy leads to a healthy nation."

The launch of this was held at Debi Sahai public school, which received a planter box as a donation by PAHO. This highlights the support that has been given in the area of promoting a healthy lifestyle by encouraging schools to grow their own vegetables at home. The main goal of this initiative is to allow children from primary schools to have hands-on experience on how to start a vegetable garden and how to take care of it.

"The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture deeply appreciates that on the commemoration of its 120th anniversary, PAHO placed planter boxes at 120 schools, promoting a healthy lifestyle among the students and of course allowing the children to learn about agricultural production. Congratulations on 120 years of PAHO." mentioned Mr Kersout of the Ministry.

Teachers and students at the Debai Sahai school were given instructions on how to set-up and maintain a planter box in order to grow their own vegetables. In addition, over the course of one-year, instructional videos will also be shared periodically on tips & tricks and how to stay motivated to grow the garden. On 2 December 2023, a report will be presented on what was done by students.