Residents of Majesty Gardens Benefit from IRP

Photo: Contributed Photo Senior Governance Officer for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Unicie Delapenha, attends to queries of youngsters from Majesty Gardens during a recently held parenting and life skills training session at the National Housing Trust (NHT) car park. The training session focused on reviewing poor parenting practices and the high levels of teenage pregnancy, as part of the Inner City Renewal Programme (IRP).

Story Highlights

  • Residents of Majesty Gardens, in Kingston, are benefiting from parenting and skills training as well as infrastructure development, through the Inner-city Renewal Programme (IRP).
  • The JSIF and NHT will address the infrastructural issues highlighted in the community profile.
  • Meanwhile, Resident of Majesty Gardens, Tameka Perkins, says she is grateful for the training sessions which will improve her parenting skills.

Residents of Majesty Gardens, in Kingston, are benefiting from parenting and skills training as well as infrastructure development, through the Inner-city Renewal Programme (IRP).

The programme is being offered through collaboration with government agencies and the private sector, for the improvement and sustainability of inner-city communities.

Partners for IRP include the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Social Development Commission (SDC), National Family Planning Board (NFPB), Children First and Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo.).

Senior Governance Officer for CSJP, Unicie Delapenha, tells JIS News that the project was informed by a community profile prepared by the SDC, following consultations with residents.

“Parenting, teenage pregnancy and infrastructure development were identified as three main challenges in the community. The partners’ mandate is to improve the profile of the community and act on the recommendations,” she outlines.

Over 50 parents recently benefitted from a three-day life skills workshop hosted by the partners, which  focused on reviewing poor parenting practices, high levels of teenage pregnancy; and  the importance of behaviour change.

“The workshops targeted younger parents, between 17 and 25, to change some of [the] maladaptive behaviour among this group and we hope to see significant changes,” she says, adding that it is more difficult to address parenting issues among persons over 35.

“The parents were very interactive, they want to change and that is evident in their feedback during the different life skill training workshops,” she tells JIS News.

In addition to the life skills training, the partners have worked to revamp the parenting group in the community.

Ms. Delapenha also notes that there are plans to improve the capacity of the parenting group and later transform it into a Community Based Organization (CBO), which can oversee the establishment of other critical groups for further development.

“What we are also trying to do is reintegrate some of the youngsters between 14 and 18 into the formal school system. Skills training will also be provided,” she adds.

The JSIF and NHT will address the infrastructural issues highlighted in the community profile.

Senior Social Development Officer at the NHT, Rosie Barton, tells JIS News that it is a strategic plan to have skills and psycho-social training, such as parenting, offered prior to construction of houses.

“We are preparing persons not just to have a house, but a home and a community. We are changing the face of these communities and establishing means to sustain that change,” she explains.

Ms. Barton says the partners have recognized that it will take more than one entity to achieve the desired goal, but a group working together and pooling resources in an effort to have the face and operations in the community renewed.

Persons from the community will receive training in areas, such as plumbing, tiling, masonry as well as carpentry and they will be certified with HEART/NTA. Once certified, they will in turn help to build the houses in their communities.

“The residents love the change they are experiencing and they look forward to the end result. They are attending the training sessions and we are encouraging them to stay on track and work with the entities,” Ms. Barton says.

The construction aspect of the programme is expected to commence in April, she points out.

Meanwhile, Resident of Majesty Gardens, Tameka Perkins, says she is grateful for the training sessions which will improve her parenting skills.

“I learnt a lot from the parenting sessions. To call my son by his name, to sit with him and talk to him, to show him love and to pay more attention to him is very important,” she says.

JIS Social