Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Dream Jamaica goes online

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2020 | 12:15 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
A group of students who participated in the Dream Jamaica summer programme.
A group of students who participated in the Dream Jamaica summer programme.

The organisers of Dream Jamaica, a charity organisation which has been mentoring Jamaican high-school students on their journey to tertiary-level education since 2008, are undeterred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its flagship activity is an annual summer camp with more than 250 participants, who would meet daily at The University of the West Indies, Mona.

Owing to the impact of COVID-19 on gatherings, the programme will be moved online and the reach will be expanded through the establishment of recruiters in St James, Mandeville and Portland.

Representative for western Jamaica, Nicholas McIntyre, told The Gleaner that the programme will run for four weeks and will feature virtual college tours, Scholastic Aptitude Test preparation, career development, personal development and motivational sessions, virtual field trips, among other activities.

“We are striving for one-to-one mentorship. We have done it in the past and, this year, we want to maintain it via the online platform. Now that we are going online, we are also providing the amenities for these students to access the summer camp,” McIntyre said.

He explained that funding has been secured to purchase at least 50 smartphones, and the organisers are seeking partnerships with local telecoms companies to provide Internet plans.

“We are also trying to get endorsement from the Ministry of Education to get our new website zero-rated. Even though we are aiming to provide data plans, it can’t be done for everybody. In all aspects, we are trying to make it accessible, because this crisis has really separated the haves from the have-nots,” he said.

Dream Jamaica has also implemented a strategic COVID-19 relief plan with a budget of almost $8 million.

Students will be able to directly benefit from the funds being allocated through scholarships and planned engagements throughout the year.

“Our primary focus is on helping students to #BounceBack. We will help Jamaican students to overcome and remain steadfast in their quest to success,” said programme director, Tafar-I Williams.

Applications will remain open until the start of the summer camp on August 3.

For further information, send an email to programs@dreamjamaica.org.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com