Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Students to benefit from bright JPS idea

Published:Monday | August 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A number of the newly made BannaBags which will be used by needy students. - Contributed photos
A number of the newly made BannaBags which will be used by needy students. - Contributed photos

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

When Tricia Williamson read a magazine article about how old advertising billboards were being recycled in one African country, she could not help but reflect on the many advertising banners the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) had in storage - some of them from dated annual events which were not likely to ever see the light of day again.

So after being encouraged by colleague Shenee Tabannah, the JPS's social media and online communications manager took the idea to Winsome Callum, director of corporate communications, and much to their delight, it found favour with the management of the light and power company.

Since then, hundreds of old advertising banners have been recycled into strong, stylishly attractive waterproof backpacks and pencil cases, with the first batch of 100 to be given to students in time for the new school year.


Fired up by the response to its BannaBags Project, starting next month the JPS will invite other companies to donate vinyl advertising material to create thousands of new school bags for children across Jamaica.

"We are very excited to have found such a practical use for so much material that otherwise would have been left in storage or sent to the dump. And the children are fascinated by the many different styles based on the colours, and then the bags are very sturdy, so this is just so wonderful," Williamson told The Gleaner.

She explained that the bags are produced in collaboration with HEART Trust/NTA and the GARMEX Academy, which manufactures the backpacks and pencil cases, that are tested for further tested for quality standard by the JPSCo, which is very satisfied.

"It's a simple idea with many benefits and is a great way of breathing new life into unused advertising. Plus, we hope to reach even more students in need by yearend through partnership with other companies," Callum said in a release.

The first beneficiaries of the BannaBags Project will be bright young students in need of back-to-school supplies. Thereafter, other beneficiaries will include students at the JPS Foundation Model Schools and children nominated by JPS employees.