University of New England students raise funds for 3 southeast schools

University of New England Dominica bound group
University of New England Dominica bound group

Each year 16 students and professors from the University of New England, which is located in Maine USA, visit Dominica. The program leader Prof. Thomas Klak has visited Dominica 17 times over the last decade. The Students come to study and experience Dominica’s rich culture and natural wonders, and also to support villages and community groups committed to sustainable development.

Prior to this year’s trip the students have engaged in an innovative “100 Mile Bike-a-Thon for 100 Dominican students” fundraising campaign to purchase supplies for the Grand Fond Pre & Primary schools and the Morne Jaune Primary schools. Friends and well-wishers were asked to pledge an amount per mile and the students took turns riding a stationary bike to accumulate 100 miles in one day. The group also sold smoothies, baked goods, and donated pieces of art during a craft show at the University of New England. To date the University of New England students have raised more than US$1000 to purchase much needed supplies the three Dominican schools. The schools’ priorities include laptop computers, security fencing, and scholarship support for preschool children from families unable to afford costs.

Since 2005, Prof. Klak has brought more than 150 US university students and professors to Dominica. He explains that, “Dominicans are generous and hard-working people who take pride in their beautiful island. American students have much to learn from Dominicans about living close to the land and not over-exploiting it. If we can help Dominican teachers, farmers, fishermen, and ecotourism guides keep doing what they are good at and what they love, we feel we can make a positive contribution during our island visit.”

Sam Raphael, owner of Jungle Bay and Hummingbird Air believes that this type of student tourism is a major potential niche market for Dominica.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of Universities that take students on annual enrichment trips to Dominica. In addition to the donations and money they spend on accommodations, food, ground transportation and other essentials, these students go back to their communities as enthusiastic un-paid ambassadors to our island. Dr. Klak and the growing list of visiting professors should be commended for making a huge contribution to the sustainable development of our island,” he remarked.

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  1. janice dejean
    November 3, 2014

    professor klak is a Doinican .He has visited us for the past 17 years and kept on assisting the schools in the south east May the good Lord continue to bless him and his group of students.We a waiting once again for your visit.

  2. Anonymous
    October 30, 2014

    Great! Thanks to the professor for promoting Dominica. You are always welcomed here.

  3. Al
    October 29, 2014

    I am from Dominica i leaved in Maine for 15 years i was encouraged to know that theses students visit my country.
    We have a lot in common, to me the cold/snow is the only difference. very nice people.

  4. Not American
    October 29, 2014

    lol the effort is great and all but 100miles on a stationary bike? and 16 people take turns. Why not all dig out your real bikes and bike 100 miles together outside, in the naturem,get some fresh air? This is so typically american.

    • Anonymous
      October 29, 2014

      o my gosh u just cant please people….we should get off our ….. and do some fund raising also….a bunch of crabs in a barrel we are

    • Dominicainus
      October 29, 2014

      You have jump to a conclusion that it is a stationary bike. Bike-a-thons are not done indoor but outdoors. So before you jump in and give some idiotic response think first. What they are doing is a blessing to the children that will benefit.. Whether or not they biked 2 miles or 100miles each is irrelevant.. It’s the effort and time that counts. They did not have to.

  5. Anonymous
    October 29, 2014

    Very good gesture and thanks Professor Klak .

  6. Anonymous
    October 28, 2014

    What a positive move. Dr klak and his students are doing a great job for our schools

    We appreciate that in grand fond.

  7. Thanks
    October 28, 2014

    That’s awesome

  8. The Facts
    October 28, 2014

    A special thank you to Dr.Klak and for promoting Dominica and the friendly nature of Dominicans.
    The students look extremely happy. Dominica is not as a big city. It is obviously peaceful and quiet and the people are friendly and hospitable. They are also entranced by the beautiful scenery, another reason why they love Dominica.
    They bring with them some skills and contribute something worthwhile while on their visit. They introduced this fundraising, pledging an amount per mile. In those countries, this could rake in for fundraising, some millions of dollars. This is an excellent manner of raising funds in those countries.
    I wish them a happy and enjoyable visit.
    Rest assured when they return to their country they will inform others about the enjoyable time they had and of the friendly and hospitable D/can people as they proudly show them pictures of Dominica. You know the result of this. Some will be eager to visit.

  9. A friend
    October 28, 2014

    Thanks Dr klark
    The day we made contact was awesome I am looking forward to visit the university any progress .You will not see me while in grandfond rest assured that all is well

  10. grell
    October 28, 2014

    Thank you guys so much for caring,will always appreciate do come back and visit our lovely island.

  11. The One
    October 28, 2014

    Dr. Klak, I am so happy that you can continue assisting that section of Dominica with your good works. You are an inspiration to people of the region. Looking forward to meeting you this time.

  12. van
    October 28, 2014

    Positive and generous

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