A wire bending programme was piloted at two after-school programmes to encourage the development of craftsmanship skills and awareness of this Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) element. The participating schools are MAC Browlia Maillard After-school programme and Oranje Community Afterschool. The wire bending programme is being spearheaded by the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO, and the sessions are given by Mr. Lambert Holder. Minister of Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, the honourable Wycliffe Smith visited some of the students, their instructor and the program coordinators and congratulated them on their work.
Students in both programmes have created baskets and fishes out of wire. The next project will be the creation of the renown Caribbean trickster, Anansi the Spider. Mr. Lambert Holder has indicated that for this project the students will be working together in groups to create this character out of wire. He emphasized that as the students work on these wire bending projects, they are not only learning the craft of making art out of wire, but are also learning mathematical skills, cooperative skills and much more.
According to Ms. Marcellia Henry, Secretary General of the local National Commission, “UNESCO St. Maarten looks forward to piloting more programmes, like this wire bending programme at other after school programmes to promote and develop craftsmanship skills. This aspect of our intangible cultural heritage needs to be encouraged to ensure that these skills and knowledge are transferred to the next generation, ensuring that this aspect of St. Martin's cultural heritage lives on.” She thanked Mr. Holder for collaborating with the UNESCO Office on this programme, and the others that will be initiated soon. She also thanked Ms. Olivia Jacobs of the Oranje Community School and Ms. Juliana Shipley-Hodge of the MAC Browlia Maillard After school programme for allowing this programme to be piloted in their schools.
The pilot programme started at the MAC Browlia Maillard After school programme on November 30, 2018, and commenced at Oranje Community school on January 4, 2019. Approximately 23 students participate in the wire bending programme at Oranje, which is held on Tuesdays at 2:30pm to 3:30pm for the first group of students and then at 3:30pm to 4:30pm for the second group of students. At the MAC, five (5) students have joined the programme thus far, who meet on Fridays from 2pm to 3pm.