Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Reconnecting with Jamaican roots - GK Birthright Programme exposes foreign interns to Jamaican heritage

Published:Wednesday | July 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Senator Don Wehby (left), group chief executive officer of GraceKennedy, greets the interns of the 2018 GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme. From second left are: Jushua Tulloch, Anastacia Davis, Keean Nembhard and Kayla Green at the launch of the programme at GraceKennedy Ltd’s downtown Kingston office yesterday.

Four young, bright foreigners of Jamaican parentage have been given the opportunity of kindling their roots and fulfilling childhood dream under the GraceKennedy (GK) Jamaican Birthright Programme.

The 2018 launch of the Jamaican Birthright Programme took place yesterday at the headquarters of GraceKennedy in downtown Kingston. The interns from the United States (US) and Canadian universities will get exposure over a five-week period to the professional and cultural side of Jamaica, while working at GK subsidiary companies and among company executives like Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby.




"This is a chance for me to reconnect with my roots. As a child in the diaspora, I have always wanted to know more about myself. Coming here is fulfilling, especially being in a powerhouse like GraceKennedy," Anastacia C.C. Davis, US Master of Fine Arts student, told The Gleaner.

Keean Nembhard from Canada said that it had been hard getting to know about his Jamaican roots.

"My mother is French-Canadian, and I find it easy to engage in my French-Canadian heritage. But it is difficult to do so for my Jamaican heritage. [So] when I came across this programme, I thought it was incredible," he said.

Caroline Mahfood, executive director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, said that through the programme, a positive picture can be painted of Jamaica.

"This helps to show them a different side of the country, and the fact that there is a lot of positive things going on. We have detailed job descriptions for them. Although they grew up knowing the food and music through parents, they need their own experience," she said.