Editors' Forum | Roland's ride to success
Entrepreneurship is not new to Roland ‘Andre’ Griffiths, as the 36-year-old from Majesty Gardens, St Andrew has been trying his hand at several businesses to provide for himself and his family since he was a teenager.
But this time Griffiths believes he has found a winner through the help of the LASCO Chin Foundation.
Griffiths who is a father of three, grew up in the gritty inner-city community which is better known as ‘Back To’ with his father, who has been blind since Griffiths was 13 years old. Because of this he was unable to finish school.
“Everything leave on me, food, clothing, medical bills, everything, but me used to doing little odd jobs and me is a freelance chef. A me say $100 food and them thing deh.
“I didn’t get to finish nothing, I have no certificate, but me love book and me love reading and me read and collect information, and me look pon other people life and learn,” Griffiths told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum last Thursday.
It’s been seven months since Griffiths was first introduced to the foundation’s Sustainable Socio-Economic Intervention, which provides at risk youths with entrepreneurial training and an opportunity to put that training into practise by earning an income through a small sales businesses.
Initially Roland was given chocolates to sell. He was successful doing that and was then given six bottles of juice which morphed into six cases of juice and water.
“It benefit me, but you done know, you won’t have a lot of money to show because you have your kids and family to take care of, and so me have a little cook shop, weh half dun weh me run along with selling the juice.
“Me do it (sell juice) in a the traffic, when things get slow, me try go out and do all a hour, secure your first little break and then come catch the breakfast. Me get up from 3:30 a.m. and cook and me have people that come in and me pay them $800 a day fi sharing. Me do breakfast, lunch and clean up and prepare for breakfast the next day,” said Griffiths.
In order to extend his operating hours Griffiths would like more street lights in Majesty Gardens where crime has reared its ugly head from time to time.
“We no stay out till late because nobody no too deh pon the road because of the light situation in the community. The whole community dark and my light a the only light pon the road at that time.
“Because when anybody else gone in them take in theirs, so nobody no have no chance fi see dung pon Marcus Garvey Drive. So me keep my light all night,” said Griffiths.
He said persons from his community have been asking about becoming a part of the Lasco Chin Foundation programme which is testimony to how it has been shaping his life.
“Me grateful and me father say him proud. All this morning me a come out him say him proud. Me proud fi know say a lot of people can come for food a daytime and sometime me not even make a profit from the food but me make a profit from the juice.
“Because most of the time me haffi give weh the food to sell a juice because a no everybody have it and a so everybody a ask me how me get in contact with them,” said Griffiths who was last week awarded the Lasco Chin Awards for Community Impact and Influence.
“Me get respect now from me community in such a way weh certain things weh did a happen on that road it no happen no more. Certain people weh all a say ‘me fraid fi come in a night time me rather sleep out a the police station,’ them a come in and them a say thanks and don’t make me light come down,” said Griffiths.