Reaching out to Belize

Photo supplied.

Photo supplied. Pictured is a member of one of the fifteen underprivileged families suffering from COVID-19 who received a grocery bag filled with basic food items including flour, beans, rice, sugar, oil, shortening, chocolate drink mix and a detergent bag which consisted of powder soap, bar soap and disinfectant. The support was made possible through the donation of our local Belize Project group established and led by Cavan resident Andy Harjula.

The St John’s Anglican Church in Ida recently made a generous gift of money to the St. Matthew Anglican School/Church in Pomona, Belize. The school principal, Annamay Ferguson, organized a distribution project to assist 15 families in her community.  Like many rural communities around the world, Pomona has been devastated by the COVID virus and most of the Pomona residents are still waiting for their first vaccine jab. Only 23% of Belizeans are vaccinated and in the village of Pomona, 75% are unemployed.

Because of the high local COVID infection rate, the school is still closed and students are learning remotely. For Annamay’s students this means that; each Monday, a family member picks up a week’s worth of assignments and drops off last week’s assignments.

The government has legislated strict regulations to control resident travel outside of their home. This was necessary because of the limited medical services available. The government has also mandated a curfew, mandatory mask wearing at all times in public.  Initially all small stores and street vendors were also required to shut down, but today, most stores have been allowed to reopen. The consequences of contravening the regulations is a $5000 fine or two years in the big house.

The Belize Project consists of a small group of local individuals of whom most are members of St John’s Anglican Church in Ida.  The group has also received very generous support from local organizations such as the Lion’s Club and the Legion and many individuals who have supported the Belize Auction each year. These efforts have achieved small but notable successes, including significant food contributions to the Catholic, Methodist and Anglican school lunch programs in Belize, the planting of several thousand fruit trees at schools and on farms, the distribution of soccer equipment, tools, and 300 bras donated by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Financial donations have supported twelve students in their education, three of whom have graduated and are now working with the remaining continuing their studies in high school, junior college and University.  Recently they have also allowed Ferguson to provide food supplies to fifteen local families who are struggling due to COVID infections.

Anyone interested in contributing to the efforts to support residents in Belize are invited to contact Andy Harjula at

By Andy Harjula

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