Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Rotaract Club creates opportunities for ‘phenomenal women’

Published:Wednesday | May 8, 2019 | 12:05 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Six young women from challenging circumstances have put their troubled pasts behind them, using art as therapy while learning a practical skill to provide for their families as part of the Rotaract Club of New Kingston’s Phenomenal Women United initiative.

The women had their craftwork displayed at the recently held Craft Cart pop-up expo at Campion College and received rave reviews for their efforts.

Rotaract’s Phenomenal Women United initiative was launched earlier this year by the Rotaract Club of New Kingston in collaboration with Suga Lifestyle and GW Art.

“The project is designed to provide young ladies from troubled backgrounds with an avenue to learn how to use art as therapy, as well as to learn a practical skill that can be used to provide for their families and also to foster an environment whereby they can acquire life lessons and ethics,” said club president Vanessa Williams.


Participants were drawn from Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, the Young Women’s Christian Association and Eve for Life and were taught how to work on various expressions of art using stencils, canvas, acrylic and paint over a period of six weeks.

“They were further provided with sessions on customer service, the use of social-media marketing, time management, nutrition for young mothers and students, as well as communication principles and practices,” stated Williams.

Participants were provided with the opportunity to showcase and sell their productions at the Craft Cart pop-up with the added bonus of taking home all the proceeds from the sale of items. A total of 15 pieces were created and sold, yielding a profit of more than $50,000.


Suga Lifestyle and GW Art representative Gabrielle Williams Burgess said she was happy to be associated with the initiative, adding that she was “humbled by the experience”.

“Over the past six weeks, the young ladies really showed significant growth in their approach towards art, their appreciation for their talents, and the understanding that their effort is what will yield results,” she said.

Summing up her experience, Samoya Douglas, one of the participants, said she was pleased with the initiative, its impact, and the direction it has given to the women who participated.

“I am really appreciative of this opportunity, and I am grateful to Ms Vanessa and Ms Gabby and the other persons who helped us on this journey. This experiment allowed me to feel a sense of independence after accomplishing my goal, and I felt so proud that I produced the most pieces and all of them got sold,” she said.

The initiative is part of the Rotaract Club’s ‘Break the Chain, Remove the Stigma’ focus, which has been guiding their projects and focus to serve marginalised and stigmatised populations.