Three Jamaicans who are among nominees vying for the $1.5 million Arthur Guinness Fund prize to support their projects, are eagerly awaiting the judges' announcement of the three lucky winners on September 26. The announcement will coincide with Arthur Guinness Day, when the late entrepreneur and philanthropist is celebrated throughout the world.
James Bell from Barry Street in Kingston is hoping to impress the judges by impacting more than 500 at-risk youths with his Holy Net Works Community Based Project.
For her part, Havalee Henry hopes to electrify the panel with her humanitarian mobile-clinic initiative projected to bring health-care services to some 400 people monthly.
Wayne Williams, on the other hand, expects to beat the competitors with his Horticultural Skills Training and Sustainable Business Development project in Manchester.
"The three winners of this competition will have projects that embody the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit of Arthur Guinness, and they will each be rewarded to develop their projects," says Racquel Nevins, brand manager Guinness, adding that "it's about celebrating those who make great things happen."
In the case of Bell, he opened a remedial centre known as 'Holy Net Works' for high-risk youth, with a schedule of two one-hour sessions each week. He says within nine months the students completed the online programme and were able to sit the HEART/NTA technical exam, with a very high pass rate. The students are taught the necessary job skills by Bell, and some of the graduates who operate the centre.
Bell says his project empowers at-risk youth, the failures and dropouts from downtown Kingston and surrounding communities, and gives them a second chance at making a livelihood.
Another nominee, Henry, a second-year orthopaedic surgery resident at the Yale University School of medicine in the United States, boasts that her initiative utilises a mobile clinic for delivery of healthcare to underserved communities in Kingston and St Andrew.
aiming to increase reach
Currently owned and operated by the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), the clinic serves the wider community of Kingston and St Andrew. However, Henry's intention is to vastly increase the range of communities that are served by the clinic, by increasing the number of days in the year that the clinic is operated. It will then increase the geographical area as well as the number of individuals who receive treatment on a regular basis.
Henry is currently working to establish a relationship with the University of the West Indies Medical School and Yale School of Medicine, to foster an exchange of ideas, personnel and resources.
Mobile medical services represent an innovative approach to disease control by bringing testing services and medical care directly to populations at increased risk of drug abuse, HIV and other STDs.
Williams' project, which provides training for young persons at the Mike Town Horticultural Skills Training Centre in Manchester started in 1998 as an outreach mission of the Moravian Church. It also develops a sustainable economic project that provides some form of funding support to the programme.
"To date, we have provided tutoring and training to more than 200 underprivileged students in and within neighbouring parts of Manchester," William says, but the programme was suspended as the church sought to locate a facility to host the students.
After being granted a 95-year lease on three acres of land in Mike Town, a small centre was constructed with donations from various businesses and community groups. However, in order to host the skills-training programme, he says the renovation of a section of the building would need to be done to facilitate a classroom space.
The skills-training project will take place over a period of three months and the classroom renovation project will be completed within one month of funding.
The project plans to target persons in the 18-25 age groups, who are considered semi-literate with no skills and no prospects for meaningful employment.