JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports with responsibility for Women’s Affairs and Gender Issues, Hon Olivia ‘Babsy” Grange today (March 6) launched the Sisters to Sisters Mediathon, in aid of the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica’s (WCFJ) programme for adolescent mothers and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Shelter for Battered Women.
The event, which will be carried live on local television and radio, April 13, will seek to raise $10 million to support the work of the agencies.
The Mediathon, which was conceptualised and supported by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, was launched in commemoration of International Women’s Day, March 8.
Jamaica’s top female artistes, among them Marcia Griffiths, Queen Ifrica, Nadine Sutherland, D’Angel, Cherry Natural, Cecile, Tessanne Chin, M’Lonie, Carol Gonzalez, Etana, Stacious and Sophia Brown turned out to support the event and gave moving tributes in song and speech to an appreciative and spirited audience comprised of students and staff at the Women’s Centre, Trafalgar Road.
Minister Grange said the Mediathon, which will be held under the theme ‘Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’, will help to raise awareness around the challenges facing women and mobilise resources to carry out work to promote gender equality.
“While the Government provides funding to carry out programmes to address the ills, we must recognise that Government’s contribution alone is not enough to bring about the full transformation that is necessary to improve the lives of our women and girls.
“The objective of this initiative is not only to educate the public on the critical issues but also to raise funds specifically to assist the (WCFJ) which will help pregnant teenage girls to continue their education. Part of the proceeds will also go towards the establishment of well needed shelters for battered women in Jamaica.
“What we are doing here today will help to make the Jamaican public aware of the challenges that face not only our women and girls, but also our men and boys.”
She indicated that Minister of water and Housing Dr Horace Chang had given a commitment to providing a suitable building to house the shelter and that Food for the Poor had undertaken to provide furnishing.
She encouraged the girls who currently use the centre to rise above the challenges they now face and to take hope from the fact that, women from across the country are standing with them to help them get through difficult times, complete their education and establish a stable life for themselves and their children.
Past student of the Women’s Centre, Stephney Bailey, spoke of the impact the programme has had on her life, having given her the opportunity to complete her studies and enroll on a teacher training course. She urged the girls to develop solid plans for the future and to make the best use of the opportunity they have been given.
Acting Executive Director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Faith Webster emphasized the importance of International Women’s Day. She thanked the artistes for taking time to mentor and support the girls at the centre.
Beryl Weir, Executive Director of the WCFJ outlined the services offered by the Foundation, which include assistance with tuition fees up to tertiary level, providing counseling, advice and support, as well as assistance with prescriptions and supplies for the teenage mothers.
The artists, who are all members of the Sisters to Sisters Committee chaired by Paula-Ann Porter-Jones, performed their popular hits for the students.
The concert component of the Mediathon will be anchored by Ronnie Burke and Clifton ‘Specialist’ Dillon. Sharon Burke of Solid Agency is coordinating the event which will be held at the CPTC studios on Arnold Road.

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