• JIS News

    Story Highlights

    • Activities at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation’s (WCJF) Montego Bay branch have been boosted with the renovation of the facility’s cosmetology room at a cost of $650,000.
    • The undertaking, which was spearheaded by the Sandals Foundation, entailed the installation of hairdryers, washing sinks, styling stations, furniture, nail beauty supplies, and additional storage space, as well as the painting of murals and the facility’s general structure, among other inputs.
    • The newly renovated room, which was formally opened on Tuesday (November 26), will benefit some 48 young girls, 17 years and younger, currently enrolled at the Centre, whose schooling has been temporarily interrupted due to pregnancy.

    Activities at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation’s (WCJF) Montego Bay branch have been boosted with the renovation of the facility’s cosmetology room at a cost of $650,000.

    The undertaking, which was spearheaded by the Sandals Foundation, entailed the installation of hairdryers, washing sinks, styling stations, furniture, nail beauty supplies, and additional storage space, as well as the painting of murals and the facility’s general structure, among other inputs.

    The newly renovated room, which was formally opened on Tuesday (November 26), will benefit some 48 young girls, 17 years and younger, currently enrolled at the Centre, whose schooling has been temporarily interrupted due to pregnancy.

    Acting Manager, Carlton Smith said the newly refurbished room is welcomed, adding that “this is something we have been waiting on for a very long time”.

    “When the Sandals Foundation told us that they would assist us in outfitting the cosmetology room, we could hardly contain ourselves. This is very much appreciated and will truly assist these young girls, especially those who might want to pursue a career in cosmetology,” he said.

    The WCJF’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Latoya Rattray, was equally gratified by the Sandals Foundation’s “wonderful and amazingly kind gesture”.

    “The upgrades will allow these young girls to execute the practical component of their cosmetology course… to support their training. The upgraded facility will [also] help the ladies get the much needed experience… to complete their studies,” she added.

    Meanwhile, Sandals Foundation Ambassador, Ian Spencer, emphasised that empowerment of the society’s most vulnerable groups remains critical to achieving national development.

    “As we all do our part to develop Jamaica as a place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, it is important to be equitable in the opportunities that are offered to the most vulnerable,” he said.

    Noting that teen mothers are among the society’s most vulnerable groups, Mr. Spencer contended that education and skills training will position them “to secure a better future, not only for themselves but their families, their communities and, by extension, Jamaica”.

    The Women’s Centre Programme for Adolescent Mothers was established in 1978 by the Government of Jamaica, in response to the high level of teenage pregnancies that were being experienced in the country.

    The organisation was mandated to provide continuing education for girls who drop out of school after becoming pregnant.

    The Centre, which gained Foundation status in 1991, operates as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

    Ms. Rattray advised that girls who become pregnant while attending school are usually referred to the nearest WCJF Centre or outreach station by teachers, counsellors, healthcare providers, or concerned citizens.

    She indicated that in order to prevent or delay a second pregnancy, the young mothers are encouraged to use a contraceptive method of choice. Additionally, she said parents are asked to sign a contraceptive consent form.

    “Day nursery services are provided for the babies of the adolescent mothers at the Centres and established outreach stations. Additionally, parenting skills are taught, and breastfeeding is encouraged,” Ms. Rattray added.