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Impacting Jamaica

Impacting Jamaica

Author: Impacting Jamaica

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There is an abundance of positives taking place across Jamaica and the diaspora. Impacting Jamaica is an initiative to provide exposure to positive happenings, acts of kindness, activities and investments positively benefiting communities at every level, across every sector – to inspire, motivate and excite people everywhere.
89 Episodes
The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) has been supporting charities in Jamaica for close to 40 years. Its areas of focus are education, healthcare and economic development. AFJ Executive Director Caron Chung says it is now time again for entities in Jamaica to apply for support through the organization that has issued grants in the region of US$16 million over the last 39 years. The deadline for applications is February 4, 2022 and charitable organizations in Jamaica must apply online at before the deadline. She notes that all the requirements are available on the website but they include registration with the Charities Act, updated financial accounts and an active board of directors. In this episode of Impacting Jamaica, Ms. Chung talks with host Keisha Hill about the work of the AFJ, its supporters and how the foundation is impacting lives across Jamaica.
Red Stripe’s Head of Corporate Affairs Dianne Ashton-Smith is passionate about shaping a culture of responsibility and ensuring that parents have the tools to enable their children to say no to underage drinking. As one parent put it, “Sometimes we don’t have the full information about the issues relating to underage drinking.” Through a programme, including the teaching of parents about their role in eliminating underage drinking, Ashton-Smith believes there can be change in attitudes to drinking in a country where a boy or girl under the age of 18 having a drink, is no big deal. “Parents are the first level of influence with their children. Children take their cues and their nurturing from their parents and so we feel it is important to give them these tools so they can have the right conversations,” said Ashton-Smith. Ashton-Smith discusses with Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris matters relating to under-age drinking and the wider issues of responsible drinking.
The lived experiences and traditions of Nanny, were largely spent on activities outside of warfare, noted Dr. Leo R. Douglas, an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University (NYU). In contrast, the lived experiences of maroon leaders of the day revolved around African spirituality, facilitating community wellness, and deepening their understanding of the Jamaican interior, the forests, and local flora and fauna that provided them with medicine, shelter, food, faith, ancestral memory, camouflage and escape. Within the current climate and biodiversity extinction crises, and concerns about the rapid degradation of Jamaican watersheds and water access, this project (Nanny: Her Sword – A Seed) aims to mainstream a discussion of Maroon traditional ecological knowledge, practices and beliefs with respect to their deep and existential relationships with the natural and the eco-spiritual worlds. Dr. Douglas noted that the project is seeking to retell the story of Nanny in keeping with her significant roles, both real and symbolic. This visual arts project thus situates Nanny as shaman of the forests, as healer, as priestess and protector of the springs and watersheds, and commander of the natural forces of the Blue and John Crow Mountain watersheds. In this episode of Impacting Jamaica, Dr. Douglas told host Zadie Neufville that the current international call for visual artists to submit entries aims to produce a gallery-type art piece in honour of National Hero Nanny for the 60th anniversary of independent of Jamaica.
Ricardo Allen heads one of Jamaica’s top education digital service providers, One-on-One Educational Services Ltd. It has experienced exceptional growth since its start in 2013, expanding into several Caribbean countries. Today it stands ready to assist Jamaica and the region to tackle the gaps created in the system by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that shut down schools across the region for in excess of one year. Allen says its recent acquisition will allow the digital business to expand its coaching and tutoring services to all levels of the education system. The courses that students take, he argues, “are personalised, and that’s what One-on-One is all about – a personalised education experience online.” The company wants “to empower more than 1,000,000 Caribbean nationals to bridge the digital divide and learn and take their exams online, laying the foundation for rapid skills acquisition for a number of subject areas and business skills”. Allen tells Impacting Jamaica host Zadie Neufville that he wants to see a greater level of investment in education in Jamaica to build an infrastructure to allow access to digital education for all. He floated the idea of a “technology bond” for Jamaica.
Terri-Karelle Reid is the human ethernet-connector of people and dots. Having graced the stage at events across the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and North America, Terri-Karelle has built a brand that is synonymous with the word excellence in every way. She is an events and television host, speaker, content curator, online branding expert and storyteller. Recently, she stepped onto a huge stage – the TEDx stage. TEDx is a nonprofit organization that uses its events to help share ideas in communities around the world. Her topic was Untapped, but specifically focussing on parenting. Terri-Karelle told one of her best friends – Garfene Grandison – that her parenting style is part traditional, part modern. She told him too during this Impacting Jamaica interview that she was devastated when she first found out she was about to become a mother, and more recently astonished by the TEDx invitation. She joins us today as we explore her road to the TEDx stage, her role as a mother and as one of Jamaica’s more beloved gems.
Egbert von Frankenberg moved to Jamaica from Germany 16 years ago. He entered the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector six years ago when he co-founded the software development firm, Knightfox Apps Design. He’s upbeat about the sector, arguing that it is a huge plus for the Jamaican economy and its people, as a key employer of labour. The chief executive officer of the business is a graduate of the European Business School in London, and his company has been leading the charge in bringing more attention to the potential of software outsourcing in the Caribbean. Knightfox Apps Design has the distinction of being the first in the Caribbean to be certified as an accredited technology partner of US-based online shopping platform Amazon, and focuses on e-commerce and block chain products, as well as, mobile phone and cloud applications.
From an inner-city St Catherine community to a graduate of one of the top universities in the United States and the world, Tarick Walton has turned his sights on giving back to Jamaica. He, and others, are working with educators to transform the St Johns Road Primary School through the Walton and Friends, a non-profit organization that he co-founded while in college. Tarick, a graduate of Campion College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has also written a book with 10 mentorship lessons to guide persons, at any stage of life, to achieve their dreams. For him, a civil engineer, living is anchored by perseverance that focuses on the vision; reciprocity that encourages love; and humility that emphasises others over self. He tells Impacting Jamaica host Luke Douglas that for Jamaica to proper government, business and community must align around entertainment, spirituality and sports.
The power of reduce waste, fraud and corruption in the public sector lies in the hands of Jamaicans, according to passionate civil society advocate for better public governance, Jeanette Calder. For the last several years, has been vocal on governance issues, in particular those relating to procurement, corruption and public sector reform. Jeanette is also the founder of JAMP – Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal. She joins Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris for an unusually inspiring conversation on accountability and corruption in Jamaica.
Since the start of 2021, registered art therapist, Lesli-Ann Belnavis Elliott has seen an increase in the number of clients calling for mental health support. This, she believes, means more Jamaicans are crying out for help as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people’s lives. Lesli-Ann, who is also a photographer, has conducted creative arts-based clinical assessments and art therapy sessions with clients of various ages, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds in a variety of locations including, schools and community centres as part of projects or her private practice. Currently, she offers services both in-person and via telehealth to persons dealing with grief, trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, and family and work-related concerns. Lesli-Ann sits down with Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris to chat about Art Therapy; and how it is helping Jamaicans to heal.
Where does one find York Street in Jamaica? Ask Elaine Coleman and Elaine Chen. They will tell you: About three and a half miles from the town of Linstead, St Catherine. They are executive members of the York Street Past Students Association, New York chapter. The past students have fenced the school, paved the walkway; built a library and a computer lab, among several other projects. Their mission is to help students at the York Street Primary School and surrounding basic schools and communities. The association, started 25 years ago by Ms. Coleman, now vice-president, is headed by president Elaine Chen. Under the umbrella of Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA), Inc., York Street has used the critical subsets of education and healthcare to bring much needed hope and assistance to school and community. Their story is the subject of this edition of Impacting Jamaica with host Aubrey Campbell.
Employees at the Jamaica Customs Agency went into their pockets and came up with funds to purchase 61 tablets for students at two schools close to their offices. “It was done without hesitation,” declared Tameka Goulbourne, Director of Internal Affairs and chairperson of the customs agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. The tablets went to the Farm Primary and Infant School in Green Pond, St James, and the Edward Seaga Primary School in Denham Town, St Andrew. Tameka notes that the agency’s committee focuses its efforts in and around communities close to its offices. “We want to have a greater impact on our stakeholders beyond our current mandate, especially with everything that has been going on since the pandemic,” she said. She spoke with Impacting Jamaica host Luke Douglas about the commitment of the agency’s workers to corporate social responsibility initiatives and plans for the future.
Levi Roots is an award-winning musician, broadcaster and entrepreneur, whose grandmother taught him how to cook in Jamaica. He is the founder of the Reggae Reggae Sauce. He appeared on BBC2’s Dragons Den in 2007 and won an investment on the TV show. Within a few weeks, his sauce was on supermarket shelves. His sauce was an instant hit with the British public and at one point Reggae Reggae Sauce was outselling other popular brands. Levi has written several cookbooks championing Caribbean food and has become a favourite on British TV. His brand has branched out into several foods; and is one of the most recognisable brands in the UK. Levi has announced he is having a multi-million-pound movie made about his life. He sits for a chat with Impacting Jamaica host Sinai Fleary.
Standing at the head of Jamaica Impact Inc. (Jampact) Tassie Scarlett has seen the importance of giving back to the efforts of early education. But a funny thing has happened with the state of the world today. Rather than suffer through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jampact has found that the diaspora, understanding the plight that faces Jamaica’s youth, has been even more generous. Scarlett has seen her organisation improve its capacity to give back; and she wants more. Even after 23 years, she firmly believes there is more in the tank. According to her, she will be tasking her team to produce more towards the effort of creating youth in this nation, who can contribute to its betterment. Impacting Jamaica host Luke Douglas sits down with Tassie, as she verbalises her ambitious vision for Jamaica’s youth
No one is turned away at the Good Shepherd Medical Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica, thanks to the kind support and donations from US-based charitable organization, Partners of Good Shepherd, founded by Joy Dufour in 2013. Dufour, through support from her friends and her church in the US, has been supporting education and health care efforts in Jamaica with joy and compassion over the years. “Probably it is the best thing I have done for myself,” she declared relating to work done at the Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica. The philanthropist sits down with Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris to discuss their mission and heart for Jamaica. She asserts that COVID-19 will not stop them from doing God's work.
Members of the Friends of Port Maria, New York Chapter, have spent the past 25 years, building partnerships for a brighter tomorrow for not just students at the Port Maria Primary & Infant Schools but several communities in the parish of St. Mary. They remain focused on the mission and a vision to create an environment where enhanced education and healthcare opportunities are more available. For executive members, Angella Cummings, treasurer; Guyline Tate Witter, secretary; Dawn Silvera Ndure, floor member; and Lorna Fairweather, chairperson, public relations and membership, their activism is more than a labour of love, it’s who they are. Their story is the subject of this edition of Impacting Jamaica with host Aubrey Campbell.
This is the story of a real Rastafarian who will never give up. Mikal Asher, a member of the musically acclaimed Morgan family and the prolific Twelve Tribes of Israel group, has travelled a long, sometimes difficult road. From a teenager in the church, to owning his sound system in the West African country of Ghana, to an aviation and commercial pilot and an entrepreneur, Asher has triumphed. He is also a disc jockey and a toaster… but his journey to musical stardom started in May Pen, Clarendon. He recently released an album, ‘Binghiman’, and talks with Impacting Jamaica host Keisha Hill about his work and plans.
For the directors and members of the New Day School Alumni Association, New York Chapter, their mantra “Helping Students Help Themselves”, is more than words, evidenced by the many acts of kindness and benevolence that stretches beyond the confines of the school in St. Andrew, Jamaica. The focus is on amplifying the learning experience of the students at the school. Evelyn Godden, the president; Jennifer Johnson, secretary/treasurer; and Beverly Gordon-Wells, the assistant secretary, all noted that size does not matter for the organization, formed in 2012. “We likkle but we tallawah”, came the chorus of response! A new day, tomorrow…beckons!
Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited is playing a huge role in helping to keep Jamaica clean, safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company started by primarily providing janitorial, building and ground maintenance services to health care institutions; but, because of its proven record of performance, starting at the prestigious Tony Thwaites Wing of the University Hospital of the West Indies, it quickly attracted other health facilities and commercial businesses such as telecommunication companies, banks, offices, hotels among others. Manpower & Maintenance Services Ltd. is now a full-service human resource and facilities maintenance company, providing clients with services at multi-sites island-wide, with best-in-class and cost-effective solutions. Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris sits down with Deputy CEO Garth Hinchcliffe to talk about Manpower’s vision and core services as well as its passion for education and charity.
Andrew Morris, a Jamaican-born US-based businessman, was inadvertently added to a primary school WhatsApp ‘classroom’ in Jamaica. He was so impressed with the diligence, participation, and commitment of the students and teacher that he decided to, not only stay in the group, but also to provide a treat for the students who hadn’t seen each other for an entire term. Interestingly, Morris would later find out his wife was a past student of the primary school in question. Impacting Jamaica host Shelly-Ann Harris chats with Andrew about how this all transpired.
High-performing 12-year-old triplets Tomoya, Dennis and Denrique Barrett are determined to excel at academics and repay their mother, Tamara, for her unwavering support in ensuring they have a good education. Mrs. Barrett has been the driving force behind the trio’s top performance in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams at their former school, Mountainside Primary in St Elizabeth. The exceptional performance of the children has resulted in them now attending the high schools of their choice. Dennis and Denrique now attend Munro College, while Tomoya is at Hampton High School. Mrs. Barrett says it has not been an easy road but she will continue to work hard to ensure her children get the best education possible. The children and their mother, in this episode speak, with Impacting Jamaica host Mark Titus.
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