Fri | Jan 20, 2017

Household worker award gains momentum

Published:Friday | April 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
From left: Don Wehby, chief executive officer, GraceKennedy, Nicola Lawson, Elaine Duncan first winner of the award, Lennie Little White, brother of the late Dr Heather Little-White and Anthony Lawrence, marketing manager for GraceKennedy.

The dream of late nutritionist Dr Heather Little-White, to see domestic workers attaining better treatment and having equal rights, has begun to gain the support she dreamed of before her death.

With the official recognition of the Jamaica Household Workers' Union (JHWU), in 2013, and the GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White Household Worker Award, individuals, who work hard to make the lives of others easier, are now being given their due.

According to Nicola Lawson, vice-president of the JHWU, the award is not only a means of recognition but a life-changing experience that has motivated its members by encouraging them to continue working hard.

"We strive to provide opportunities for the personal and professional development of our members. They have proven that hard work pays and, if they continue to be diligent in their efforts, they will make progress," Lawson said.

 

good working conditions

 

The JHWA was established as a non-government, voluntary, women's organisation in 1991 to represent the needs and interests of female household workers. Among other things, the organisation provides skills training in household management for its members, as well as ensures good working conditions and better payment for household workers.

Last year's winner was Elaine Duncan, who won the title of Household Worker of the Year.

Don Wehby, chief executive officer, GraceKennedy Limited, says the feedback from the first staging of the award has motivated his team to ensure that this year's event will be better, with the aim of invoking the spirit of Little-White, who was a special member of the company's family for years.

"Training household workers was something that was very near and dear to her heart, and she was always that figure of encouragement, pushing them to equip themselves with the tools to enhance their lives and those of their families. We are happy to assist in helping that legacy to live on," Wehby said.

This year's winner will receive the GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White Household Worker Award, as well as cash of $250,000.

The first and second runners-up will receive trophies and grants of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.

GraceKennedy also committed to funding a year of secondary-school education, through a grant for a student chosen by the winner of the award.

Subsidiaries of GraceKennedy, including Hi-Lo Food Stores, will be giving gift vouchers to the winners as well.

The first-place winner will receive a $30,000 gift voucher. Second- and third-place winners received vouchers for $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

First Global Bank will again be opening accounts in the names of the top-three winners, this time in the amount of $25,000 each.

Nominations of no more than 200 words can be emailed to gracekennedy@gkco.com, dropped off or mailed to GraceKennedy's head office, 73 Harbour Street. Deadline for entries is Friday, May 15, 2015.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com