UTech honours humanitarian, educator gender rights advocate
The University of Technology (UTech), through its FiWi Jamaica project, has honoured nine individuals and two organisations at its third annual Ubuntu Essence of Humanity Awards ceremony, held recently at The Knutsford Court Hotel.
Leading the list of awardees were educator Keisha Hayle, and long-time gender and water rights advocate Linette Vassell, who both received the most prestigious awards - Ubuntu trophies - at the event. The Sir Howard Cooke's Thursday Group Character Development Centre in Nannyville, St Andrew, also received an Ubuntu Essence of Humanity trophy for establishing day care, internet and homework services.
The university honoured Hayle, who is principal of the Padmore Primary School in west rural St Andrew, for her "exemplary and selfless leadership in education" and for consistently "striving for academic excellence at the Padmore Primary School, for going beyond the call of duty, and for unstinting care for the education of the children of the community". The university called Hayle a "selfless, dedicated, committed and extremely hard-working philanthropist" who has taught and mentored over 5,000 students at the school.
DECADES OF ADVOCACY
For her part, Vassell was awarded for her more than four decades of advocacy for women's rights and for the provision of social water. She was lauded for contributing to the passing of several pieces of legislation to improve the status of women and children in Jamaica. Notable among these were the Maternity Leave Act and the Minimum Wage Act, passed in the 1970s. Under the Minimum Wage Act, domestic workers were for the first time entitled to a legally determined basic wage.
Vassell was also lauded for her unwavering advocacy for the establishment of "community-controlled and/or co-managed water and sanitation supply systems, in particular in low-income urban, rural and remote rural areas".
Other Ubuntu Essence of Humanity Awards winners were Nicholas Scott, Althea Young, Dr Jean Purchas-Tulloch, Sheldon Millington and Fitzroy Mils, all of whom received citations for community outreach.