St. Maarten Red Cross Livelihoods Project Manager Fernando Suarez-Jimenez (centre) shakes hands with NIPA Supervisory Board of Directors President Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson (right) as St. Maarten Red Cross Head of Mission Fanny de Swarte looks on.

 

CAY HILL--The St. Maarten Red Cross has signed an agreement with National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) to facilitate the first course in Red Cross’ Livelihoods Project, a programme aimed at giving people in St. Maarten with few or no job prospects more opportunities for work.

  NIPA will be providing four months of training in air-conditioning and refrigeration maintenance for 20 people who have already registered and qualified for the Livelihoods Project. The course is being executed by NIPA in close collaboration with Trinidad-based MIC Institute of Technology, and offers participants an accredited certificate on successful completion.

  This course is the first in a series of training programmes that Red Cross said it will be offering to help St. Maarten people make their income sources more resilient to disasters.

  “This first training launches the activities of the Livelihoods project,” said St. Maarten Red Cross Livelihoods Project Manager Fernando Suarez-Jimenez. “We plan to continue supporting vulnerable people in St. Maarten during the next months in order to strengthen and diversify their sources of income.”

  Red Cross recently announced an open call for people who are unemployed or only work part-time to register for the job programme. It said more than 100 persons have already registered and its project team is currently evaluating registrants to determine whether they qualify for the project.

  “Red Cross hopes to help the people on the island who most struggle to provide for themselves and their families. Together with the NESC [National Employment Service Center – Ed.] … the Red Cross intends to continue the push to source the most vulnerable persons to benefit from these programmes.

  “NIPA, and by extension MIC Institute of Technology, is proud to partner with the Red Cross, and thereby add consistent value to the labour market by graduating qualified tradesman in all technical vocational areas,” said the Red Cross in a press release.

  Livelihoods is the latest project of the Red Cross, which has been providing aid through food and home repair projects since Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017. Red Cross said it will soon launch a project aimed at making residents more aware of how to reduce the effects of storms and other hazards on them and their communities.

  Red Cross also said it hopes to begin training courses in air-conditioning, maritime, sewing and other areas within the next few weeks.

  Persons who want to register for the Livelihoods Projects can do so in person at the Red Cross headquarters in Simpson Bay or its Service Point at the WIFOL Building in Philipsburg. Persons can also call tel. 1-721-545-2333 or 1-721-545-2304.