Minister Grange Lauds Women’s Centre Foundation for its Work


Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has commended employees of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, who have made a difference in the lives of young mothers in crisis.
Speaking at the Foundation’s 30th anniversary luncheon and awards ceremony held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston yesterday (July 3), the Minister noted, “today we come to share with the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation in saluting the men and women who have over the years provided the kind of sustenance that is very much a part of the foundation here. We are recognizing.those who have, in any small or large way, made a difference to the lives of young mothers in crisis.”
“As we look back 30 years,” she continued, “we recall the pain and anxiety, depression and discomfort suffered by adolescent mothers. For many it often meant losing families as in many instances they were excluded from their families who saw them as a source of disgrace or embarrassment. For others, it meant loss of income and employment as employers abandon these young mothers in the name of what one would call reputation and image.”
Miss Grange noted that others have had to drop out of school and were not allowed to continue their education and as such, were “forced to add to their self-inflicted misery, the pain of expulsion and the consequences it brought. All in all, it was a time of remorse and pain for these adolescent mothers.”
The Minister praised the workers for having shown respect to the teen mothers, noting that this was an essential aspect of the programme. “From the early beginnings and moreso now, those who work in the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation have always had to demonstrate the highest levels of respect for all who pass beyond the doors of the various institutions. It had to be the fundamental practice and mission of all concerned to promote respect for all these young women. This is one of the reasons why I join in saluting all my long service awardees today.Many of you have spent the better part of a lifetime imparting knowledge and respect to these young persons and for this I say a big thank you.”
She noted that the mission was to develop programmes for young mothers that can assist in their rehabilitation. “For years, our mission has been to intervene in the lives of our teenage mothers, especially in providing new opportunities for continuing education. I salute those whose focus and ardent attention have made inroads in the school system that has allowed, on many occasions, the girls to return and complete their education,” Miss Grange said.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation is a national programme that addresses the problems of interrupted education and the accompanying social problems that occur when an adolescent girl has to drop out of school due to pregnancy.
This programme began in January 1978 as a project of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. The organization has seven main centres and seven outreach stations islandwide. Girls 17 years and under who become pregnant while still attending school are referred to a main centre or outreach station by teachers, counsellors, ante-natal clinics, Government and private agencies and by word-of-mouth.
A programme is offered Monday to Thursday of each week between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at each centre.
This includes academic instruction, counselling and skills training. Family Planning Counselling as well as referral for contraceptive services are provided to help the young mothers to delay subsequent pregnancies. Day nursery services are also provided at each centre to facilitate breastfeeding and parenting. After childbirth, the mother is then re-instated into the school system.
On another matter, Minister Grange informed that since the Sisters to Sisters mediathon was held at the studios of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) in Kingston on April 13, $6 million in cash has been received. She said that in terms of cash and kind, the target has been surpassed. “We have exceeded the $10 million target and we are at over $11 million,” she informed.
Miss Grange, had organized the event through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, in collaboration with women in the Jamaican Entertainment Fraternity. The mediathon was a seven-hour all-female fundraising concert to raise $10 million towards the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, and to build shelters for battered women. The mediathon also aimed to assist in empowering females and to raise awareness of significant issues affecting women.

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