Wed | Mar 29, 2023

Karate stars donate to Women’s Centre

Published:Wednesday | September 2, 2020 | 12:10 AM

Four members of the Jamaica national karate team, Valentyna Zolotarova, Alton Brown, Jessica Cargil and Kenneth Edwards, helped to raise over $148,000 in aid of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation by hosting an online karate seminar called ‘Defending the Future’ on August 30.

The members, with the help of the technical director, Nathaniel Peat, were able to coach 50 participants from Jamaica, Nigeria, St Lucia, Canada, USA, Barbados and Senegal on the Zoom platform.

The funds were secured through the monies gathered from the registration fee of the participants and donors.

Zolotarova said her team was happy to have met the target.

“Getting people to register was difficult and the other was coordinating everything, because it was our first time,” Zolotarova said. “We ended up raising US$750 with the class and we as athletes are topping it up to meet the US$1000 mark.”

The first athlete to represent Jamaica at the Olympics in tae kwon do, Edwards, said this donation will give them an opportunity to literally defend the future because the children of the women are expected to benefit indirectly.

“It’s not only about the young mothers, but we also think about the kids, because when the mothers are disenfranchised then, involuntarily, that becomes the kids’ fate as well,” said Edward.


Brown, who has been competing for Jamaica for 21 years, said this was a great opportunity to use their passion for the sport to make a difference in the lives of others.

“We want to set a trend where athletes no longer have to look at ‘what can I get out of this for myself in terms of my athletic journey and my Olympic dream?’, but ‘how can I contribute and build up my brothers and sisters?’,” Brown shared.

Jamaica’s first female karate athlete, Cargill, said she is pleased with the outcome of the event, but they also want to host self-defence classes for the women of the centre, once the pandemic is over.

“Some of the self-defence courses also teach motivation and help with self-confidence, so once we can meet again, that is definitely something we would love to do with them,” said Cargill.

Projects coordinator of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, Natalie Fuller, said the foundation is grateful for the donation and they plan to put it to good use.

“We will be using the funds to provide educational assistance to adolescent mothers who are financially challenged and going back to the formal school system, through our Advancement of Secondary/Tertiary/Remedial Education programme,” Fuller said.

This event was also a training opportunity for athletes, who have been out of training due to the pandemic.

Karate will make its debut appearance at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Sharla Williams