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Supporting AIDS fight with a sweet aroma

Published:Wednesday | May 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Kadine Reynolds, business development manager, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, outlines the numerous fragrances of the scented candles produced under the organisation's Life's Work programme. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator

The sweet aroma of the combination of fragrances swirling in the air was intoxicating.

Fresh Brewed Coffee, Blueberry Muffin, Juicy Pineapple, Strawberry, Honeydew Melon, Coconut Blast, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Cucumber Melon, Lavender, Mango Papaya, Vanilla Passion, French Vanilla, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Stick, Orange, Lemongrass, French and Amber Vanilla, Botanical Orchard and Nectar, Citronella, and Eau de Parfum.

Inside the production room of the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life's (JASL) Upper Musgrave Road, St Andrew headquarters, creative hands were at work fashioning an array of scented candles in traditional and unique shapes, whose stimulating, exotic aroma would soon fill the room of someone's personal space.

For the past 16 years, JASL, through its Life's Work programme, has been helping persons living with HIV and AIDS to use their creativity to support themselves. They have created scented soap, scented candles, and greeting cards, which have been sold on the local and international market and the proceeds used to help fund the work of the JASL. However, with dwindling sponsorship, the project was shelved two years ago.

Brand-new approach

In January of this year, thanks to financial aid from USAID, business development manager Kadine Reynolds revamped the project with a brand-new approach, focusing strictly on scented candles with their own unique fragrances, colours, and shapes.

"Candle usage has now taken on a whole different life of its own. Housewives are deodorising everywhere in the home because they find the scents so relaxing. It's become aromatherapy for them. People are now using candles for so many different things," said Reynolds.

"With this new line, we have beefed up the fragrance measurements, and so the scents are now way stronger. They deodorise a room way quicker, and they last really long. Being a tropical island, we now have fragrances that bring home the tropical feel."

The programme helps to create jobs for persons living with HIV or AIDS as well as offers training for those interested in learning the trade. It also aids with funding treatment, prevention, and the many programmes of the JASL.

"Supporting the work of Life's Work is not only supporting a worthy cause, but you are also getting excellent products of top-class quality. And it is a product of Jamaica," said Dane Richardson, programmes manager.

Reynolds added: "It is twofold. Persons are not only able to meet their support with their social conscience, but they are also investing in a solid product."

She added: "Our candles are functional, decorative, and can be used for multi-purposes such as events, homes, aromatherapy sessions, massages, gift giving, centrepieces, special occasions, mosquito repellants ... . There are so many uses."

They are also creating a special collector's item edition in celebration of Jamaica50. These candles will feature Jamaican colours in exotic tropical fragrances and shapes.

With a production of more than 1,000 candles per week, the products are available in numerous shops across the island, as well as at JASL's office.