JANELLE DE SOUZA
The cultural exchange with Cuba and Success Laventille Secondary School has had numerous benefits, not only for the school, but for the students and nation as a whole.
It all began when the school became involved in a pilot music literacy programme supported by Pete the Panstick software where the children leaned to play the tenor pan as well as business and entrepreneur skills.
Success Laventille principal Hamida Baksh developed a relationship with Sanch Electronix Ltd, which provided the software, and she approached managing director Simeon Sandiford who had Cuban business connections.
She said in the past, students gained much out of performing in other countries __ they enjoyed being recognised as musicians and gave them a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as a boost in confidence.
“Therefore, I was looking at ways for the students to get the experience of travelling and having cultural educational exchanges,” she said.
Eventually, the opportunity presented itself for the school’s steel orchestra, Success Stars Pan Sounds, to visit Cuba upon the invitation of the Cuban Government through the Cuban Institute of Music.