Busy restaurants could be serving up good news for students – several of the country’s most popular brands announced today they are joining the Leno Learning Link drive to put a tablet or learning device in the hands of every child in The Bahamas. The initiative, created by financial firm Leno in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and connectivity provider ALIV, was introduced in September to ensure that no student was left behind for the lack of a single learning device when classrooms went virtual earlier this year to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“When we knew that we had to go virtual, we had about 50,000 students who needed a device to join the virtual classroom,” said Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd. “I knew that the Ministry alone would not be able to provide devices for every student so when we got the first call from someone on behalf of Leno, saying they wanted to partner and would create the Leno Learning Link, I said, ‘Thank you, thank you.’ Since then, individuals and corporate Bahamas have been coming forward and we are so grateful.
This latest news is amazing and has the potential to drive us to the finish line.”
Leno founder and President Sean K Longley praised donors’ generosity, calling the need to put a tablet in the hands of every child urgent. “When we announced the Leno Learning Link there were 36,303 students who could not attend a virtual class because they needed a tablet or learning device,” said Longley. “Today, that number is 13,119, thanks to so many who contributed through the Leno Learning Link or directly with the Ministry of Education. Now with The Myers Group — KFC, Burger King, Dunkin’ and Pizza Hut among others – teaming up, I know we can put this over the top and reach our goal, putting a device in the hands of every child.”
According to KFC Marketing Director Joanne Cates, taking a bite out of the most basic need to facilitate education in a virtual environment was a no-brainer for the company.
“These are challenging times for all of us, but especially for youth who may not be able to join a class or could be missing an entire school year for the lack of a single table and internet,” said Cates. “We are excited to join Leno, ALIV and the Ministry of Education in creating an opportunity for every customer to donate through our POS (point of sale) system that we have dedicated for one month to this important cause.”
Participating restaurants in The Myers Group include KFC, Dunkin’, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Quizno’s and Anthony’s (Paradise Island). Marketing Director Ash Henderson said the timing is ideal. “This is the perfect time for a partnership in fund-raising,” said Henderson, who oversees marketing and corporate social responsibility for most of the Myers Group brands. “Our customers understand the need and we will make it as easy as possible for them to donate change from their order or as much as they want so the main course comes with a little something to sweeten it – the knowledge that you are giving back and helping a child.”
Nearly half a million dollars has been raised so far, starting with Leno’s major contribution of $60,000, marking its 10 th anniversary by giving back to community and committing financial and human resources to the campaign.