MINISTER OF Education Reverend Ronald Thwaites has said that society has a wrong sense of priority when it comes to funding.
According to Thwaites, in times of economic austerity, areas such as social services tend to be cut early when, in fact, it should be the opposite.
Thwaites was speaking yesterday a function, held at RISE Life Management Services in Kingston, where the organisation received a donation of US$25,000 from the Jamaica Volunteers Association (JVA).
"RISE Life Management indicates the triumph of the inner city, we are speaking about restoring downtown Kingston, we could put up any amount of buildings, but it won't work unless the social needs of the inner city are taken care of," Thwaites told the gathering.
Despite the donation from the JVA, RISE Life Management, like many other non-governmental organisations, is still faced with financial problems as the donation only covers one of its programmes.
Sonita Abrahams, executive director at RISE Life Management, has outlined the addiction counselling and intervention services programme as one of those to be affected.
"The programme involves addiction counselling, face-to-face counselling, drug testing, telephone lifeline testing; it is a huge project, so that entire programme really needs to be funded.
The counselling programme is going to be terribly affected, we already had to lay off two of our counsellors, and now we are going to attempt to rely on volunteers. Most of the young people who come to us cannot afford to pay for treatment themselves," Abrahams told The Gleaner.