This fund supports students who are the first in their families to attend high school in Caye Caulker, Belize (school is not free in Belize). Ocean Academy, Caye Caulker's first high school (opened in 2008), provides academic and job skills programs that enable children to break free from systemic poverty. Canadian singer/songwriter Danny Michel motivates and works alongside Ocean Academy students in everything from school repairs to talent showcases to scholarships.
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.