Danny Michel invited Evan Hadfield to visit a project near to his heart - Caye Caulker Ocean Academy -and a wonderful connection was made with the Belizean high-school students and staff. Evan returned to Caye Caulker to film an episode of Rare Earth featuring Principal Heidi Curry. He also mentored two Ocean Academy (OA) students in videography skills. This microproject will fund scholarships and support developing social enterprises for OA high-school students.
In Belize, education is expensive due to school fees, books, and uniforms; almost half of Belizean youth are forced out of the educational system and are often left with marginal literacy and numeracy skills. Only 50% of young people nationwide attend high school.They struggle to find low paying jobs. Families who try to break this generational cycle face academic challenges. Large class sizes and limited ability to receive help at home often mean failing the primary school exit exam.
Ocean Academy subsidizes education for all students through fundraising and social enterprise. Students learn valuable job skills in entrepreneurship classes and earn tuition through student-led ventures such as kayak and bike excursions, school cafe, or selling art. Small classes, personal education plans and individualized attention build core skills and empower students to believe in their future. School counsellors, mentor teams and the free after-school tutoring centre provide support.
For the first time, a full generation of villagers will be educated beyond primary school. They will lead their developing country out of crime and become stewards of Belize's fragile ecosystems. Our SEaTIDE approach promotes Social Enterprise, Technology, Innovation, Development and Education. OA students have won four national innovation competitions with proposals to reduce youth unemployment, create more engaging educational programs and problem-solve via technology.