Twenty-nine Canadian volunteers are currently fuelling change in Jamaican organisations by offering a variety of services required by governmental, private-sector and non-governmental organisations.
The volunteers are contributing to Jamaica in key areas such as justice reform, gender affairs, climate change, and youth education. From building schools and hospitals to sharing experiences with others, these volunteers are providing much-needed services in local communities and are dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives.
The volunteers are attached to CUSO International, the Canadian Executive Service Organization, and youth internship programmes. They are assigned to high schools across the island and are working with organisations such as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the Office of the Prime Minister, Climate Change Division; Junior Achievement Jamaica, the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation; Woman Inc., Heart Trust/NTA, RADA, MultiCare Youth Foundation, Rise Life Management Services, the Branson Centre, and other institutions.
FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
Through volunteer advisers and collaborative partnerships, the volunteers help people, and the communities in which they live, to make lasting and positive change.
High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Laurie J. Peters, said the contribution of Canadian volunteers in Jamaica is priceless, noting that she was happy that their assistance will strengthen local institutions.
“Our volunteer programmes have been active in Jamaica for decades, building relationships between Jamaicans and the Canadian people. This human capital is as important as financial or infrastructure investment in the long term,” Peters said.
CUSO International, currently hosting 21 volunteers, has been in Jamaica since 1961. They develop programmes and opportunities that support poor and vulnerable youth and women to create sustainable livelihoods through skills and vocational training, thereby improving youth employability and enterprise development.
TO GAIN EXPERIENCE
Ten Canadian youth interns are also in Jamaica as part of the International Internship Programme, carried out by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. The programme offers young Canadian post-secondary graduates the opportunity to gain professional experience through international work.
Currently, the interns are in Jamaica assisting in the teaching of mathematics, science, agriculture, climate change and gender studies. These young Canadians are placed at Ardenne, St Jago, and Pembroke Hall high schools, and Knox College.
Chantel Guthrie, resource and programme development adviser, Multicare Youth Foundation, said she believes in giving back and has seen changes in the young people she has worked with since being in Jamaica.
“I like to be on the ground ,and with my training as a life-skills facilitator, we have seen tremendous results that the programme has had on our participants,” Guthrie said.
“Young persons from Denham Town, and other areas in Kingston and Montego Bay, have benefited from the programme,” she added.
“We have seen capacity building and [have] seen the changes in these young people, and they have been empowered and are driven to do well,” Guthrie added.
Meanwhile, Peter Day, environmental intern and coordinator of the Environmental Committee at Ardenne High School, said the students have made other items from waste material around the school.
“We made tops out of scrap wood and metal lying around the library and turned them into bin tops for the recycling bins,” Day said.