Miss Jenny's relentless drive to better her children's lives
Jenieve Scott is a single mother of five who knows exactly how to manipulate the daily hustle to care for her children. Her main goal is to ensure they have good clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, enough food to eat, and a good education.
Scott, who is more popularly known as 'Jenny', has been a vendor at the Clarendon College school gate for 12 years. "My mother used to sell here first and I used to come with her, but after she left, I take it over full-time for myself," she said, adding that she makes her living from selling snacks, sweets, and juice.
Even though the stall does not generate much revenue, she presses on in good faith. "Well, mi still affi try, no matter how it look. No matter how small, I have helped a lot of students over the years, whether it is with lunch money, or bus fare to go home. But the good thing is most of them don't forget the good I did for them because whenever they pass by, they still hail me and show appreciation for what I did for them same way."
Compulsory savings in the form of a small partner plan is a backup method Jenny uses to balance her expenses. She also admits that there are a few persons she can always call on to bail her out of a situation when the need arises. "Mi do likkle farming too. Mi raise goat and pig. It's a hard road to travel and it's very stressing because I don't get any assistance from (the children's) fathers."
During the summer, Scott does some hustling at the market, but said she has to take out loans to help offset her children's back-to-school expenses as the summer holidays are usually very slow periods.
She explained to Family and Religion that it is especially difficult now that the school rules have changed and the students are no longer allowed to disembark buses at the gate. "Sometimes me affi ban mi belly fi trust a pickney because sometime they don't come back to pay and almost every evening I have to lend fare. Some carry it back and some don't. But mi still come and try for the sake of my children. Some parents leave lunch money for their children and we help them, so we out here fi a purpose. We look out fi pickney no matter what," she said.
She encouraged parents to create their own jobs and 'hustle' to look after their children instead of sending their children out to beg. "One of my daughters' school fee is $25,000 the other is $16,000, but me know how it go when ah school time, so I always plan for their schooling. I can hardly pay my bills so I have to set my priorities straight to ensure my children get the best I can afford to give them," said Scott.
"My daughter in third form is doing so well. Since she start this school, she has always been on honour roll in upper division. She motivates me to work harder for them because she wants to become a judge and I'm determined to see her achieve that goal. My eldest son is 22 and is overseas studying law enforcement and my 19-year-old daughter was one of Edwin Allen's track stars and is in Texas studying physiotherapy. My other daughter is in sixth form at Clarendon College and is doing well also and it makes me feel very proud to see them reach this far. They have ambition and they work hard to reach where they are and they are determined not to allow their circumstances to dictate how far they can go or how much they can achieve in life. We say hustle the money no matter how small," Scott told Family and Religion.
Scott said she makes the sacrifices for her children and encourages them to do well in school because education is the only way out of poverty. "Mi always tell my daughter say me affi live fi see her being interviewed by Ian Boyne. That's how much me sure she affi make it," she said, proudly.