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The Soroya Amy Jackson Foundation offers 10 bursaries to students

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2016 | 4:08 PMOkoye Henry

Although the Connecticut, United States-based not-for-profit the Soraya Amy Jackson Foundation has only recently become official, the organisation is already aiming to make big strides in youth education in Jamaica.

The foundation is currently offering 10 educational grants, which are valued at J$50,000 each, to students entering their first year of college.

The charity, which was founded in 2014, is led by Jamaican-born singer Milton George Jackson Jr, who is better known by his stage name 'Phorein.'

According to Jackson, the programme intends to select applicants who display a vision for personal as well as economic growth. Jackson co-founded the organisation with his wife, Tara Taylor, in memory of their daughter, Soraya Amy.

"Applicants will be required to write a 300-word, or more, essay on one of the following topics: 'How could you use your college education to create sustainable career opportunities for Jamaicans in order to convince our most talented young people to stay and build a future in Jamaica?'; or 'What is your vision to make Jamaica better?'"

Persons interested in getting an outline of the essay topics are invited to visit the organisation's website at Applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation from teachers or principals; their high school transcripts; and a completed rÈsumÈ, which is to be submitted to the foundation's email at


Jackson said that the deadline for submission of applications is Thursday, March 31. The selections will be made after that date. The grants will be channelled directly to the respective schools of the successful applicants. The funds will be used to cover educational expenses.

"My daughter always wanted to go to school. She loved school," said the entertainer, in reflecting on his daughter, who died of cancer in 2007 at the age of nine. "Plus, I know the importance of education. So we see where this would be the right way to honour her memory."

Jackson, who is a former student of the Chetwood Memorial Primary School and Cornwall College, grew up in Salt Spring on the outskirts of Montego Bay. He revealed that the funding for the programme comes primarily from his family..

"Most of the funding is from our family at this time. We've saved up - working and saving money here and there - until we finally had enough to offer the scholarships," said Jackson. "We want to do this every year, so we are going to be looking at organising some activities to raise funds for 2017."