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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has lauded the Society for the Collaborative Lifting and Advancing of Inner-city Males (S-CLAIM) initiative, stating that it was important to the national revival to instill the moral values needed in addressing some of the psycho-social problems affecting young men in the society.
“This project is one whose significance goes way beyond the numbers of persons being reached.any programme which can be initiated to help our young men is most important to this nation’s future,” she stated.
The Prime Minister was addressing the launch of S-CLAIM at the Hilton Kingston Hotel yesterday (August 23). The programme, which is being implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is designed to foster the social and educational development of 42 young men who live and attend selected inner city schools.
“This project is not just cursing the darkness. ADRA is lighting a candle. This is what the S-CLAIM project represents,” Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasized, adding that she was pleased that the project was designed to mould characters, build on their oral development, instill positive values, encourage them to respect themselves and others and expose them to a world far removed from the one to which they are accustomed”.
Mrs. Simpson Miller also welcomed the aspects of the programme which places emphasis on providing proper nutrition, medical and dental care, along with character development tools, lessons in grooming, etiquette, social graces and deportment.
“It is a matter of developing rounded people who can fit into any social setting. We must not limit our people or express the prejudice that our inner-city people cannot rise to any occasion,” she declared.
S-CLAIM targets young men in the 9th Grade and will continue assisting them until age 20. They will be enrolled in institutions of higher learning such as the Northern Caribbean University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Technology.
The young men were selected from secondary institutions including, St. James High, Jonathan Grant High, Spanish Town High School, Denham Town High, Tivoli Gardens High, and Donald Quarry High.
Mrs. Simpson Miller also used the opportunity to commend the Agency for the important role it has played in the country since its founding some 25 years ago, noting its contribution of relief supplies after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Jamaica National and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through which $22 million was channeled to beneficiaries in the five most affected parishes.