Feature
Managing Director of the Housing Agency of  Jamaica (HAJ), Gary Howell, paints the roof of the Jamaica Association of the Deaf building, in Kingston,  on Labour Day, May 23.  
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Members of the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and the Kiwanis Club of Eastern St. Andrew worked assiduously on Labour Day (May 23), to spruce up the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), located in Kingston, and its surroundings.
  • De-bushing, painting and road patching were among the activities completed on the day, when members of the HAJ, Kiwanis Club and the JAD worked from as early as 8:00 a.m. on the Labour Day project.
  • “The HAJ always tries to find an opportunity to give back on Labour Day and this year we decided to look within the community the agency is a part of. We thought the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, which is located along Caledonia Lane, would be ideal as it is in keeping with the National Labour Day theme: ‘Child Safety…It’s You, It’s Me, It’s All Ah We’,” Managing Director of the HAJ, Gary Howell, tells JIS News.

Members of the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and the Kiwanis Club of Eastern St. Andrew worked assiduously on Labour Day (May 23), to spruce up the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), located in Kingston, and its surroundings.

De-bushing, painting and road patching were among the activities completed on the day, when members of the HAJ, Kiwanis Club and the JAD worked from as early as 8:00 a.m. on the Labour Day project.

“The HAJ always tries to find an opportunity to give back on Labour Day and this year we decided to look within the community the agency is a part of. We thought the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, which is located along Caledonia Lane, would be ideal as it is in keeping with the National Labour Day theme: ‘Child Safety…It’s You, It’s Me, It’s All Ah We’,” Managing Director of the HAJ, Gary Howell, tells JIS News.

Mr. Howell points out that working within the community on Labour Day also coincided with the HAJ’s mandate of community development.

“The JAD provides a valuable service to Jamaica by assisting persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to function in society and this is truly commendable,” he notes.

The Association currently operates eight schools across Jamaica and provides special education as well as vocational training for members of the deaf community. The JAD also manages a hearing clinic and provides social services which include transitional services and advocacy. It has a training unit that facilitates Jamaican Sign Language and Deaf culture education.

“We are very grateful for the service the HAJ and Kiwanis Club rendered on Labour Day. We should all find time to give back and provide assistance of any kind, because it takes volunteerism to build a village,” Coordinator of the Hearing Services Division of the JAD, June Coward-Fearon, tells JIS News.

She notes that the Association also operates a fine hand bindery that is aimed at providing skills training and employment opportunities for the deaf community.

“We decided to partner with the HAJ and focus on the JAD, as the Kiwanis Club of Eastern St. Andrew has been undertaking projects which serve the interest of members of the disabled community. On Labour Day we planted flowers and trees and gave the Association’s lobby and entrance a facelift. We also worked on the road as the thoroughfare was in a deplorable condition,” President of the Club and Director of Technical Services at the HAJ, Rose Marie Brown, says.

She points out that the JAD serves at least 15 persons per day and is one of two such facilities in the island.

“The association is enabling persons who may be deaf or hard of hearing to actively participate in society and live their best life and this is one of the reasons they were more than deserving of the assistance from the HAJ and Kiwanis Club of Eastern St. Andrew on Labour Day,” Ms. Brown tells JIS News.

She is encouraging Jamaicans to give back, not just on Labour Day but throughout the year as it is their civic duty.

The HAJ is a wholly owned, self-funding government entity and falls under the portfolio responsibility of the newly created Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Office of the Prime Minister. Its mandate includes property development, construction, the sale of housing solutions to low and middle-income earners, and the regularisation of land tenure, through titling services.