• About Us
  • Our History
  • Our Vision
The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM) is a non-profit company incorporated in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on October 28th, 2008. The organization’s geographic focus encompasses the settlements of Tarpum Bay, Rock Sound, Green Castle, Wemyss Bight, Waterford, Deep Creek, John Millar’s and Bannerman Town. It was felt that the people of these settlements, inhabiting the southern end of the island of Eleuthera, needed a facility which would serve as the catalyst for further educational and community building exploits.

The SEM endeavors to promote through its programs and resources: sensitivity regarding the rich history and culture of Eleuthera; literacy and academic excellence; computer and vocational skills training, and environmental awareness. It is felt that once the programs as well as adequate technical and human resources are in place, the South Eleuthera community will be poised to take advantage of the planned economic developments which are to come in the not so distant future.

The SEM is a self funded organization that relies heavily on the generosity of its members and benefactors. The recent global financial crisis has negatively affected donations. While the SEM has not been deterred, its programs have suffered major setbacks due to financial constraints. Despite this, the SEM remains committed to continuing its fundraising activities in an effort to expand its reach and fulfill its mandate.

There are many other non-profit groups which operate within the South Eleuthera community. These include The Kiwanis Club, The Rotary Club, The Cape Eleuthera Foundation, South Eleuthera Emergency Partners, and numerous church based organizations. The SEM has worked with these groups to create synergies that benefit the entire community. In particular, it has worked closely with The Kiwanis Club to support their fundraising efforts and they have always been willing to return the favor. In the coming months the SEM hopes to work with other partners to get its environmental awareness programs in place.

The Board of the SEM recognizes the organization’s unique position. The SEM has a strong brand and reputation among non-profits on the island. It also has a fully refurbished edifice with arguably one of the best computer labs on the island. It also has financial credibility (having completed the renovation work as promised within budget) and it has a committed nucleus of persons who work diligently to ensure its sustainability.

While much has been accomplished, the Board recognizes that the SEM has fallen down on its commitment to engage all of the communities within its geographic boundary. In discussing ways to mitigate this deficiency, the SEM Board has now identified a number of opportunities for expansion. It is now committed to taking one of its programs (i.e. the Fast ForWord Computer- based literacy program) on the road, via its mobile resource centre which will house twelve (12) laptop minis. The SEM is also committed to looking for ways to take some of its events into Tarpum Bay and the communities south of Rock Sound, in an effort to further engage the people of those communities.

The most immediate threat to the SEM’s operation is it being unable to garner the funding necessary to continue its work. The SEM is committed to preserving its self sufficiency status, but its current financial situation cannot adequately sustain its commitment to upkeep the premises, maintain current programs and staffing, or realize planned program expansion. To this end, the SEM remains hopeful that its members and benefactors, understanding the important role the SEM plays in the South Eleuthera community, will dig even further than in previous times to ensure that the work of the SEM continues.
In May 2009, The South Eleuthera Mission officially opened its doors to the public. This herculean achievement was only the first phase of a dream visualized by a handful of well-meaning residents and friends of the South Eleuthera community. The dream was to create a space to anchor much needed community empowerment projects. Initially raising just two hundred dollars to start and with an unwavering commitment to see the project to fruition, the team raised over $500,000.

With construction dating back more than 140 years, the former Mission House has served in many capacities; at first as a Methodist Manse, then in later years as a private residence. In 1942, the building was restored by Arthur Vining Davis and given to the Bahamas Government for the people of Eleuthera. From that time onward, it served as the Government Clinic, initially for the community of Eleuthera at large, and later on primarily for the community of South Eleuthera. In January 2003, after being found inadequate to meet the growing needs of the community of South Eleuthera, the Government Clinic was moved to alternative premises. Shortly thereafter, the Mission House was assigned to the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) of the Bahamas, who deemed it to be of historic significance. In May of 2004, a committee then called The Mission Foundation, was formed and with the help of the AMMC and generous benefactors, the building was restored to its former glory and renamed, The South Eleuthera Mission Building.

Today, all are able to enter the once antiquated building and enjoy its modern library and computer room, which is set in nineteenth century opulence.

With a history of self sufficiency, the Board of Directors of The South Eleuthera Mission now seeks to move beyond the renovation of its structure and focus on the further development of its programs. It is hoped that the same passion and vigor that propelled those who have given so generously in the past will be reignited so that the work of The South Eleuthera Mission will live on.

2004
After building deemed inadequate to continue the work of the Rock Sound Clinic, a small group of residents and friends of the South Eleuthera community formed a committee to restore the building. The end goal- to create a multi-functional space to be used by the people and visitors of South Eleuthera.

2005
The building’s restoration commenced under the leadership of Patricia Rose- Maclean.

2008
On October 28th, 2008 the South Eleuthera Mission was incorporated as a non-Profit Company in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

2009
In May 2009 the building was ready to welcome its first visitors. The furniture for the main floor as well as the equipment for the computer room and books for the library were in place.

By year end, two full time staff members were hired to manage the facilities and its programs.

2010
With the technical assistance of SEM’s Administrator, the SEM was able to secure several grants, including those from the Lyford Cay Foundation, the Cotton Bay Foundation and Cable Cares.
  • SEM commenced the following programs:
  • Study Hall
  • Summer Youth Program
  • Adult Computer Literacy Course
  • Summer Internship
2011
In an effort to fulfill its mandate to service the entire South Eleuthera Community, the SEM is embarking on an aggressive campaign to obtain further funding to expand its programs.

To educate and inform visitors and the indigenous population of south eleuthera, with particular emphasis on the youth, about the island’s historical and cultural past.
  • In January 2010 the SEM welcomed its first traveling exhibition in conjunction with the AMMC. The exhibition was titled “Lest We Forget the Triumph over Slavery”. More than 150 students and residents attended the exhibit.
  • The SEM is presently in talks with various individuals to showcase other small traveling exhibits at the SEM building. There are also plans to expand the program further by incorporating lectures and activities for students in conjunction with the exhibitions.
  • The SEM will endeavor to start the museum transformation process by displaying posters and replicas of artifacts related to Bahamian history. These items will alternate seasonally.
To provide facilities for reading and learning.
  • In 2010 the SEM continued its afterschool program, which assists students (grades kindergarten to twelve) with homework and research projects. On average, 25 students visit the site daily.
  • On February 23, 2010 the SEM hosted its first Knowledge Bowl Competition between primary schools in the South Eleuthera district. Five (5) schools competed and Wemyss Bight Primary was crowned the overall winner.
  • On April 12, 2010 the SEM invited Sharon Carlsen to host a seminar on Alternative Medicine. The session was well received by all in attendance.
  • On May 19, 2010 the SEM invited Mr. Edd Brookes, a Shark Researcher from the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI), to conduct a presentation on the Shark Research Program at CEI.
  • On July 5, 2010 with the support of its generous benefactors, the SEM held its 2nd Annual Summer Youth Program. There were nearly 60 students in attendance. The students focused on improving English, Math and Computer skills.
  • The Summer Internship Program was held in conjunction with the Summer Youth Program. This allowed students about to enter the job market to get exposure to the job application and interviewing process. In the end, three students were hired by The Mission to assist with the Summer Youth Program.
  • The SEM continued to run its Literacy/Reading Program utilizing the Laubach Way to Read (a paper-based system used by the national Literacy Services). In an effort to touch more lives (at the moment the maximum number of students able to participate in the program is four (4)) and hold on to the student’s attention, it has been agreed that the SEM would look to raise funds to implement the Fast ForWord computer based literacy program, which is also Ministry of Education approved.
To prepare south eleutherans, in particular the youth, to take advantage of the opportunities of an improving local economy through mentorship and apprenticeship programs.
  • On March 25, 2010 the SEM sponsored its first college fair for the students of Eleuthera. There were more than 50 students in attendance (traveling from as far north as Harbour Island). Visiting colleges included: The College of The Bahamas, The University of the West Indies, Bahamas Baptist Community College and Darton College. Materials were also available from Florida Memorial College, Elmira College and Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.
  • In 2010 the SEM held three (3) Ministry of Education certified computer courses. Each eight week course welcomed twelve (12) adult students.
  • The SEM looks to jump start its vocational program with a boat building workshop. We hope to utilize the vessel built at our Annual Heritage and Cultural Fair and Raffle, to be held in July 2011.
To inform and educate on the benefits and advantages of using environmentally friendly technology.
  • The SEM has formed a partnership with the Deep Creek Middle School to launch recycling programs in all schools in the South Eleuthera District. We have obtained a commitment from all schools, including Tarpum Bay Primary, Green Castle Primary, Wemyss Bight Primary, Deep Creek Primary and Preston H. Albury High.
To provide a rest and refreshment area for visitors to the mission making use of the building’s traditional kitchen.
  • The SEM Board has decided to lease out an area of its premises for a café. An interested party has stepped forward and it is hoped that the café will be up and running before Summer 2011.
To run a schedule of fundraising events channeling activities through the “friends of the mission” programme.
  • In april 2010, the SEM was the recipient of a grant from the Lyford Cay Foundation for workstation chairs as well as a multi-functional printer/copier/ scanner/fax machine. Additionally, the SEM was awarded a grant in the amount of $10,000 from the Cotton Bay Foundation to assist with costs related to the Summer Youth Program. It is hoped that the SEM will be able to obtain more grants in order to carry out its work.
  • On July 10th, 2010 the SEM held its 7th Annual Heritage and Cultural Fair and Raffle. This event is the major fundraiser for the organization and is strongly supported by the local community. This year, the SEM hopes to partner with others to include at the Fair a youth sailing regatta. It is hoped that this initiative will draw more persons to the event and bring a new dimension to the festivities.