JIS News

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation has purchased two 12.2 metres (40 ft) containers to house its Morant Bay outreach station in St. Thomas.
Executive Director at the Foundation, Beryl Weir, told JIS News the containers would replace the old building, which was recently demolished.
She said the containers were at the Morant Bay property and activities have been put on hold until they have been refurbished. She said that work on the containers should be completed for classes to begin in January.
“We are now in the process of identifying the funds to renovate the containers for classroom purposes,” she said, stating that the trailers would be equipped with classrooms for the teen mothers and skills training areas for persons involved in garment construction. Air-conditioning units and new roofing would also be installed in the containers, she added.
According to Mrs. Weir, a day nursery would also be established for the babies of the teenage mothers enrolled at the centre. She noted that the attendance level was “very poor” because there was no space at the previous building to accommodate the babies. “When the babies are not there, we are not able to see the bonding process between the young mothers and their babies,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said, the Foundation has been engaged in fund raising activities, adding that despite resources from the Government, much more was needed for some of the extra activities being undertaken by the Foundation.
“We have solicited funds and assistance from everybody in St. Thomas, including the Member of Parliament. So far, we have promises, but nothing more forthcoming,” she added. She disclosed that the money for the containers was raised from the fund raising efforts by the Board of Directors of the Foundation in 2003.
Mrs. Weir said the old building had to be demolished because it had become “very unsafe for the participants.”
“Over the past couple of years, since the building deteriorated, we have not been able to accommodate the teen mothers for more than two days per week and we would want them coming at least four days per week and have them take their babies, so we could give parenting advice and counselling,’ she said.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation is an agency of the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport.