Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Diaspora contributions important to national development, says minister

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, receives a cheque from Althea Byll-Cataria at a handing over ceremony at the ministry’s headquarters on Tuesday. Also partaking in the ceremony are (from left): Rhoda Crawford, director education services, JFLL; Mikhail Hydol, registrar, JFLL; Warell Hibbert, executive director, JFLL; Garfield Morgan, Art project coordinator, and Jean-Marie Byll-Cataria

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has underscored the value of the diaspora in making contributions to national development. She noted that Jamaicans abroad continue to play a significant role in the country's growth and job-creation strategy.

The minister was speaking at a handing over ceremony on Tuesday, where she received a cheque from Althea Byll-Cataria, a member of Jamaican diaspora in Switzerland, which will cover the cost of eight art workshops to be hosted by the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) in 2017. The funds, in the amount of US$4,450, were raised at a Caribbean fundraising dinner in Switzerland last November.

 

EMPOWERING INDIVIDUALS

 

The art workshop project, conceptualised by Byll-Cataria and Jamaican artist Garfield Morgan, aims to empower individuals through the use of art as a form of self-expression and communication, as well as income generation.

Johnson Smith congratulated Byll-Cataria for the initiative in identifying a need and taking action to fulfil it.

"This project will go a long way in not only boosting the confidence of persons who are part of the literacy programme, but also in providing a steady income for those who start businesses after discovering their artistic talent at these workshops," said the minister, who also hailed the project for finding a creative way to address the literacy needs of Jamaicans.

The project commenced in January 2016 and has since hosted three eight-week workshops, where individuals learned to construct simple craft or jewellery items from paper, string, beads and recycled materials. The JFLL shared that it is also making concrete efforts to expand the programme.