The ‘Every Child Counts’ project
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on The Bahamas on Sunday 1 September 2019 as a Category 5 hurricane. It was one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the history of The Bahamas. The hurricane caused mass destruction and devastation across the northwest islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Lennox Paton, along with many other organizations, is committed to aiding long-term recovery efforts. Following the hurricane, we launched The Horizon Fund with the aim of rebuilding lives and Bahamian communities that suffered the crippling effects of Dorian.
The Horizon Fund is currently working with Every Child Counts (ECC), a school in Marsh Harbour, Abaco which was severely damaged by the hurricane.
About Every Child Counts
Every Child Counts is a school for special needs students, with a vision to foster a mentality where people of different abilities are accepted and integrated into their community to the best of their potential.
In 1994, Evelyn Major and her husband adopted twin boys who were then 3 years old. They soon discovered that they had severe developmental delays and would require special education. Upon investigation they realized that no special needs programs were available in Abaco. Working with Reverend Stan Kolasa of St. Francis De Sales Church and Dr. S. Kossack of Florida International University, and with the support of generous donors and other families with children who have similar needs, ‘Every Child Counts’ was born.
Like much of Abaco, ECC had the unfortunate experience of being devastated by Hurricane Dorian. They suffered greatly by the loss of one of their dedicated young teachers, Alishia Liolli, who was killed in the storm, and by the complete destruction of their campus buildings.
The Horizon Fund is working with ECC and All Hands and Hearts, who are working tirelessly on the ground, to restore the buildings needed to get the school back up and running.
Just as recovery efforts began to gain momentum, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on things across the islands. Despite ongoing challenges, the Every Child Counts project is beginning to take shape and we look forward to seeing the project progress.
One building will be fully restored in a matter of weeks; two others by the end of September, including ‘Seydel Hall’, home of the new ‘Horizon Kitchen’; ‘Sochet Hall’, containing the classrooms, by January next year when they hope to resume face-to-face learning; and ‘Horizon Hall’ by next year.