On the corner | 'Education our priority' - Residents want life-skills opportunities
The South East St Andrew community of Swallowfield has several infrastructural challenges, but for two outspoken residents fixing these can wait. Right now, they want more education opportunities for their neighbours, particularly for the young men.
The two women were part of a group of residents who went 'On the Corner' with co-chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, last Thursday during a wide-ranging discussion.
"Use education to push away the zinc and build a wall," said Audria Osbourne, a paralegal assistant who has lived in the community for more than 20 years.
"Educating young persons with the desire to excel but who are restricted by financial constraints takes precedence over new buildings and housing. Education leads to a change in behaviour and perspective, it boosts self-esteem. So, as an educated person, when you come out and see the zinc, your new outlook on life will prompt you to do away with it," added Osbourne.
She argued that the provision of jobs would further serve to empower persons to uplift themselves and position them to better serve the community.
In like fashion, Pamela Munroe, community worker, 61, who has made Swallowfield her home for more than 50 years, stated that persons would first need to be educated in the particular areas before any infrastructural upgrades.
"A lot of persons lack education in the key area of parenting, and everything stems from the family. Corruption, crime and other social shortfalls in communities are as a result of the family or lack thereof.
"It's not so much about physical infrastructure, it's human development and growth and how persons take care of themselves so they're able to take care of others," said Munroe.
She argued that the Government should seek to consult communities to better understand their specific needs rather than giving them tangible gifts which are easily damaged or destroyed.
"If persons are not mentally equipped to serve themselves, they will not value something that is simply gifted to them. Come to the community, find out the individual needs and educate persons accordingly."