Thank You for Your Continued Support
A message from JSH President, Cathie Morrisey
I have more good news for you. It has been a year since I let you know that Jamaican Self-help would be continuing as a volunteer-led organization after the office was closed last February.
Thanks to you, our donors and supporters, this has been a very successful year.
So that we can be sure of keeping our commitments to our Jamaican Partners, the Board made a decision that we would not promise them money that we had not already raised. After the response to our Christmas appeal and funds that were raised earlier in the year through donations and events we now know that we can promise our Partners more for the 2017-18 school year than we sent them this year. We will soon know what their priorities are for JSH funding for the coming year and will let you know what can be done with your support.
Rosemary Ganley, Joyce Mackenzie and I went to Jamaica in January. Joyce and I were there to visit our Partners and Rosemary was doing research for her March 9th lecture in the Annual Ganley Lecture Series. It’s the first time in its twelve year history that the Lecture has been delivered by a Ganley. Please come: details on the attached poster!
Joyce Mackenzie and I talked to Ms. Suzanne Smith at St. Margaret’s Resource Centre and Mrs. Paulette Battick-Smith at St. Anne’s Primary School. This, my second visit to Kingston, showed me how serious the plight of our friends in Kingston is! In the areas of Kingston where our partners work, the people are very poor. They live in shacks made of corrugated metal. Many of the residents have no running water or electricity, yet their children arrive at school with crisp uniforms and perfectly groomed hair.
St. Margaret’s Resource Centre is where one of JSH’s projects is located. We provide funding for a literacy teacher, librarian, woodworking teacher and for servicing machines and training materials. It is fine for me to visit St. Margaret’s woodworking class and get excited to see that the teacher, Mr. James, now has an assistant, Mr. McDonald, to help him work with the students. However, it is discouraging to hear from St. Margaret’s manager, Ms. Smith, how low the teachers’ wages are. These teachers know that coming to work every day and working beside their students gives them the opportunity of a life time and prevents them being out on the street coming under the influence of the warlords and drug dealers.
The children at St. Anne’s are really enjoying the music programme and dance programme provided by JSH. The music teacher, Mr. James teaches each class once a week during the school day and he has an after-school choir that is preparing for the Music Festival. They performed for us while we were there. Mr. Beckford is the dance coach who teaches dance classes after school and enters the dance group into competitions. These programmes give the children something to look forward to in this violent neighbourhood. Arabella and Gracie are very nervous when they have to walk home from school alone but their mother daren’t be in the street as she knows things she’s involved in have made her a target. If children are not home on time from school, parents worry greatly. The good news is that the community is presently enjoying a time of peace so the children are enjoying their after-school dance practices and choir practices. School competitions in singing and dance are an important aspect of Jamaican life.
Cathie Morrisey, JSH President