JIS News

The Canadian government has provided funding for a group from that country to continue its work of poverty relief and development assistance in Jamaica. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has disbursed Cdn$500,000 to the Jamaica Self-Help (JSH) organization, so the group can continue its 25-year work of providing education and leadership skills to some of Jamaica’s poor.
Executive Director of the JSH, Marisa Kaczmarczyk, told patrons attending a ‘Fall Brunch’, organized by her group and supported by Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Vivia Betton, that the money would assist the organization to focus on education and the youth, “so you don’t have a lost generation but a found generation”.
Since 1978, members of JSH have worked in Jamaica “to foster the development of healthy Jamaican communities, through partnerships based on mutual respect, understanding, and a shared vision of self-determination,” she said.
The group works in partnership with other Jamaican groups to help improve the living circumstances of vulnerable Jamaican families by fostering self-sustaining programmes focused on education, literacy, skills training, agricultural training, community development, healthcare, sanitation and institutional strengthening.
The JSH supplements the salaries of various workers, including two community health workers at the S-Corner community centre clinic; a social worker, after school programme instructor and drama instructor at St. Anne’s community centre; two remedial teachers and a computer teacher at the Annotto Bay All-age School; two teachers at the St. Pius Training Centre and half of the woodworking teacher’s salary at the St. Patrick’s Foundation Woodworking Programme. Also funded are the music, physical education and art and craft departments at the St. Peter Claver Primary School in Kingston. Assistance is also provided for four basic schools in Annotto Bay, and the Mona Commons and White Wing communities.
The Consul General thanked the group, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, for its assistance, and for building a bridge between north and south.
“I am aware that over the years, this organization has had a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of Jamaicans. I express appreciation on behalf of the 1,500 children who benefited from your basic school programme in 2002/2003; the 35 young men and 29 young women who benefited from your programme to upgrade literacy, life skills and training for specific vocations, including catering, woodwork and cosmetology,” Miss Betton said.
Explaining how the JSH came about, Miss Kaczmarczyk said founders Rosemarie and John Ganley worked in Jamaica in the 1970s with CIDA, and fell in love with the country and the people. “When they returned to Canada, they told their friends about Jamaica and from that, the group evolved and has been assisting Jamaica ever since,” she said.
In Canada, the group also informs and educates Canadians about Jamaica and some of the challenges faced by Jamaicans. The members sponsor young Canadians to take short trips to Jamaica to build their awareness of other parts of the world.

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