Baskets and Tings
Falmouth: “Earning and Learning” the mantra of the Basket and Tings Association of Trelawny is the mission a group of skilled veteran basket makers who are passing on the knowledge of their craft to a new generation - enabling them to earn money from their skills. Thanking the JN Foundation’s Members' Advisory Council (MAC) of Falmouth for its contribution towards their “Passing on Knowledge, Gaining Knowledge” workshops, Clara Ledgister, Secretary of the Association, said that the senior basket makers are getting a new lease on life as they are gratified by the number of young people who have stepped forward to learn the craft and become trainers. “Basket craft is the oldest craft in the world and in the hey days of tourism, few tourists left Jamaica without a straw product: hats, baskets and fans being the most popular, “ says Asberga Harwood, who's been making a living off her craft for over four decades. President, Hyacinth Wright, one of the oldest consistent basket makers in the parish, who happens to hail from Sherwood, (the home of Triple Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bold) is challenging the young people, most of whom are unemployed, to get on board and do something for themselves. Training, which started in September 09, is being carried out in five clusters in the parish - Albert Town, Clarkes Town, (2) Kinloff and Duanvale. Mr. Fitz. Neil, Master Trainer in basket craft, the first person to be certified by HEART/NTA trained the first batch of 21 trainers. The Group has stepped up its marketing campaign and is seeing the returns as they have several orders filling. Ms Ledgister said she was pleased with the sales and orders at the recent Ash Wednesday Hague Agricultural Show. In order to ensure that there is sufficient raw material to meet the expected demands for their products, Basket and Tings is also calling on farmers to stop destroying the vines that straws are made from such as hook weed, whist, pandanos and wicker, asking that they harvest and sell these instead.
Revolving pigs empowers community
May Pen, Clarendon: Avenues for employment are scarce in most rural communities so residents are always looking for ways to empower themselves. The Lionel Town Community Development Group, through funding from the MAC, has found a sustainable formula to empower their community. The group, with the purchase of two pigs, has started a revolving scheme whereby each litter will be shared amongst different members who are interested in pig rearing. The group is also rearing chickens, which after six weeks are ready for the market. The quick turn-around profit from this venture is being used to cover operational costs.
Solar water heaters for Infirmary
Morant Bay, St. Thomas: The life of the 96 (mostly geriatric) residents and staff at the Morant Bay Infirmary is now more comfortable with the installation of three solar water heaters in 2008. The MAC members are pleased with this project as after the initial installation cost there will be no additional cost to this necessary alternate source of energy. “We are using what God has bless Jamaica with - sunshine - to bring comfort to the most needy in our society,” one member stated.
MAC Motor bikes
Ocho Rios, St. Ann: The Prospect Police Station in St. Ann received its first motor bike, one of two donated to the St. Ann Mobile Police in 2006. The second increased the Ocho Rios fleet to three and to ensure safety, two helmets were presented to the police so they could safely and quickly expand their area of patrol.
MAC Project galvanize Beeston Spring Community
Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland: A refrigerator, a stove, utensils and a sewing machine kicked off the training of 47 persons in the Culinary Arts, Sewing and House Keeping in a community where few opportunities exist. When the MAC, in partnership with the HEART TRUST/NTA, held the first graduation in 2008 it galvanized the community spirit and saw an increase in community participation which resulted in the Community winning the “Best Community” prize for Westmoreland and copping the third place nationally, two years in a row. “It all started with the JN Foundation contribution. After graduation several persons got employed in hotels and restaurants and a few started their own business, after that people started coming to meetings and other organizations started taking interest in us,’ states Mr. Astil Gage the hardworking President of the Beeston Spring Community Group.
Infant warmer for Jubilee Hospital
Duke Street, Kingston: The Jubilee Maternity Hospital got a boost to its antenatal care with the donation of an Infant Warmer by the Duke Street MAC. The hospital, which is the busiest maternity ward in the island, welcomed this critical equipment.
Rhino tanks keep schools open
Christiana, Manchester: Water shortage plagues schools in Manchester and quality learning time is lost due to frequent closure because of a lack of the precious commodity. The MAC stepped in and has provided rhino water tanks to supply potable water to four schools in Christiana (Alston & Christina Primary, Cobbla ECI, & Devon Basics). These tanks ensure that in the driest of time the schools will have adequate supply of water to remain open.
Salvation Army as teacher
Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth: Salvation Army is known to hand out donations to those afflicted and who are less fortunate. However, the lesser known role of teacher of skills was brought to the fore when the Top Hill chapter of the Army asked for a donation of an Industrial Sewing machine to augment its Skills Training Programme to empower the women and men in the surrounding communities.
Granville Jancannu Band
Montego Bay has funded the establishment of a Jancannu (Jonkanoo) band made up of young people in the volatile community of Granville. The band, which kicked off with much fanfare on Christmas Eve 2008, also performed on New Year's Eve and life for a while brought back night to the community.