Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Canadian charity helps Jamaica in the literacy fight

Published:Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 2:00 AM
Children from S-Corner Development Organisation having fun during one of the mission's trip to Jamaica.

A charity out of Canada - Peterborough, Ontario to be exact - is totally committed to helping Jamaican children attain literacy.

Jamaican Self-Help (JSH), established over 30 years ago by John and Rosemary Ganley - teachers from Peterborough, who witnessed a need a in Jamaica for skills, thirst for literacy and a desire to find a sure path out of poverty, has been supporting programmes focusing on education and youth ever since.

"We are a community-based organisation in Canada and we partner with small community centres and schools in Jamaica who have great ideas and leadership but lack the financial resources to address the needs of their communities," executive director Marisa Kacmarczyk told Rural Express.

According to her, she first finds out from the Jamaican partners what their greatest needs are in the communities, and that determines the priorities and assistance to be rendered.

"Education and literacy were identified as fundamental to the development of children and youth," she said.

Last year, JSH started a new programme - Campaign Literacy, and this month they are well into fundraising activities to continue it this year.

Kacmarczyk, explaining the push behind the fundraiser for Campaign Literacy, said she found that Canadians were very receptive to making donations for literacy programmes.

"So, we decided to designate the month of February to Campaign Literacy, to raise awareness of the need for literacy support, both for children and young adults, and also raise the funds needed to assist our partners in Kingston, Jamaica, to carry out these programmes," she said.

Campaign Literacy is just a small part of what Jamaica Self Help does. She said the Canadian charity's aim is to help break the cycle of poverty in Jamaica.

"We also support other projects and activities within the themes or framework of education and youth - programmes that build life skills, self-esteem and a sense of efficacy among marginalised youth, and the broader community, including parents. We also work in Canada to raise awareness and understanding among Canadians of the issues affecting Jamaica - both within Jamaica and globally - and encourage Canadians to act to help make positive change, locally and globally," said the executive.

For Kacmarczyk, her motivation in carrying on the mission lies in the people she meets in the communities and at the schools they support.

"Despite huge challenges, sometimes terrible circumstances, the people continue to look forward and build on their strengths. And they succeed. Positive changes do happen, so we know that there is an impact from the efforts made," she said.

Over the years, Jamaica Self Help has been supporting five schools and organisations in Kingston/St Andrew - St Anne's Primary, Tavares Gardens Primary, St Peter Claver Primary; S-Corner Community Development Organisation in Whitfield Town; St Margaret's Human Resource Centre in Olympic Gardens, and areas in Waterhouse.

rural@gleanerjm.com