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HELP Jamaica! celebrated the significant milestone of five years of service in Jamaica with the launch of the Information Technology Unit at HELP Jamaica Center, in Kingston.
The Center in the innercity community of Cassava Piece was established under the Help Establish Library Projects in Jamaica Ltd., founded by Hilmar Keding and Birte Timm five years ago. With the theme, “Education For A Change“, the two German nationals in collaboration with residents in Cassava Piece and assistance from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Jamaica and local and international volunteers, established the Center which has offered free education programmes including homework classes for children and CXC classes for adults from Cassava Piece and surrounding areas.
On February 12, 2014, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy & Mining launched the IT-Unit at the Center with computers donated by the Government of Jamaica’s Universal Service Fund in association with the Social Development Commission (SDC).
The IT Unit will facilitate expanded computer literacy programmes for the over 120 children and 100 adults who currently attend classes at the Center.
Addressing the launch, the two founders thanked the residents of Cassava Piece for “sharing the vision and coming together to make it a reality.”
They recalled the “old clinic” that has now been transformed into a “Center of learning” and the many residents who “helped to clean up the premises even before reconstruction and refurbishing began.”
The Center which begun with 1 employee, a few computers and books and 20 students when openend 3 years ago, today serves over 120 children per day with 8 employees, and six volunteer teachers. There are also adult education classes which prepare students to sit in Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations. Mr. Keding noted that in 2012 there were 40 persons in the CXC classes at average and this year the number has exceeded 100 for each of the offered subjects (Math, English and Social Studies).
The ceremony was attended by 150 persons, including a lot of prominent guests and longtime partners and supporters. After the blessings by Pastor Wisdom, the function started with greetings by Mrs. Virginia Chin the CEO of the Education Center, Ms. Birte Timm as the Co-Founder, Mrs. Wiggins a represantative of the neighbouring School as well as Mr. Michael ‘Muta’ Skyers as Member of the Board of Directors, H.E. Josef Beck the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Jamaica who addressed the support on various occassions that the Embassy gave HELP Jamaica! over last 5 years. Hilmar Keding (Co-Founder of HELP Jamaica!) took the audience on a ‘Journey’ through the years 2008-2014 from how it started as an idea of a rather small center, focusing mainly on younger children to what the Centrer is offering today: a full scheduled program, opening hours from 9am-9pm, adult education (CXC), Summer School, Workshops with International Volunteers and a lot more.
Mr. Hugh Cross the head of the ‘Universal Service Fund’ declared why HELP Jamaica! was chosen as one of the organizations to get 16 computers and additional IT-equipment by the Jamaican Government and handed over to the main speaker of the day the Hon. Phillip Paulwell Minister of Science, Technology, Energy & Mining who was addressing how the use of Information Technology and computers can empower single persons but also whole communities. Mr. Otto McLeod our Computer expert at the Center expressed his gratitude for the donated equipment and assured the intense use of it within his daily offered (basic and advanced level) Computer Classes at the Center.
The Ceremony was closed by students of the HELP Jamaica! Center who performed sign language, before the IT-Unit was offically opened by a ribbon cut.
At the same time we used the occasion with all these prominent guests, to launch a ‘Corporate Initiative’ where we seek strong coporate partners to look at the Center as a blueprint and support our vision to spread the educational offers to other innercity communities.
True to our Motto: Education For A Change!
We wish to thank all our active members, sustaining members and supporters a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
With your support the Education Center in Cassava Piece is prospering in 2013 and beyond and we are happy to offer free education to more than 100 kids and 60 adults everyday! The Education Center truly is a lively and inspiring place with a unique atmosphere where young and old share knowledge, creativity, joy and respect.
This would not have been possible without the contribution of our wonderful and dedicated staff members, the generously offered time and skills our volunteers from near and far, and, last but not least, the full support of the community of Cassava Piece!
Education For A Change!
Please continue to support HELP Jamaica! so that we can continue and expand our projects in 2014 and beyond!
Merry Christmas and Season Greetings from the entire HELP Jamaica! Team
p.s. Have a look at the fundraiser we keep on the internet-platform Betterplace.Org for our dedicated volunteer teachers – they definately derseve it! Every single Dollar/Euro helps! They are responsible for our adult education programs (CXC preparation classes) and volunteer for two years now – time to give them a stipend and show appreciation! But we need your help to do so!
Everyone can have their little share in uplifting one another. For more than two years our committed team of teachers volunteered entirely without any pay to teach adults in preparation for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), a test that is the basis for Jamaicans to apply for jobs and subsequently empower themselves. We finally would like to thanks these dedicated volunteers for their efforts by at least paying them a little stipend for their generous work.
Please check out our crowdfunding project at Betterplace.org - and maybe even support it by a donation. Thanks!
Education For A Change!
p.s. Please share this post among your friends and contacts, add it to your blog/newsletter and help us to get as many people involved as possible!
What’s it all about:
Growing out of a volunteer effort from dedicated teachers, we are hosting a very popular Adult Education Program since 2012, which offers free classes to prepare for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) – a Caribbean-wide accepted test of crucial importance for young people in the region.
With the new school year at the HELP Jamaica! Education Center, we now accommodate over 100 adults for our classes held in the subjects Math, English, Social Studies, Basic Computer Studies and Spanish. We even had to split our classes in two to accommodate between 48 to 61 persons per session.
For the year, 2012 we achieved great success with the adult education, as we had 25 persons passing the CXC Examinations in the above subjects, which will equip them for the working world.
The Teachers have been volunteering giving teaching assistance without any compensation or stipend. Without their effort, the courses would not have been possible! On behalf of HELP Jamaica’s Adult Education Classes we now seek donations to facilitate and offset transportation stipends which we would like to pay over to these dedicated teachers, of whom many come from the communities surrounding the Education Center in Cassava Piece.
We seek to raise €2,500.00 as our goal to facilitate this cause to cover stipends for the first half of the coming year. (First school term 2014) That’s for seven teachers all teaching two classes each week and for other expenditures the teachers have like books or other learning material and costs of copying sheets for all the students/adults each afternoon.
Big up and much respect to all teachers who freely give their time and assistance to empower the people to prepare them for the increasingly competitive job market.
Ms. Markland and Mr. Roberts – English
Ms. Luton – Social Studies
Mr. McLeod – Basic Computer Studies
Ms. Harris – Spanish
They worked with the kids, talking about their dreams and heroes, Gustavo painted together with our local team member and artist Tamar Lewis while Antoine showed the kids some breakdance moves (see the video below). Everybody enjoyed the time of their stay, see how they did brighten up our walls with some beautiful artworks.
Read more about the whole trip to Jamaica and what the term ‘Barefoot Basterds’ is all about in their own blog.
Video (by Barefoot Basterds)
We want to share this video we just found about the Street-Art Project which we hosted back in Spring 2012 at the wall next to our Education Center. The Project was conducted by the Ghoethe Institut (Mexico) with German Artist Jim Avignon. It was a tour through seven Caribbean and Central American Countries starting in Kingston, Jamaica.
and here is a slideshow with some impressions
German reggae super star Gentleman was taking part in the very popular Saturday night family quiz show “Frag doch mal die Maus” on September 7th. He and his team members, TV host Sandra Maischberger, and actor Till Schweiger won the sum of 25.000,- EUR, which got split and sent to four charity organizations of their choice. HELP Jamaica! e.V. being amongst them thanks to Gentleman!
Besides the money (4.166,67 €), that we will use to finance our Education Center in Cassava Piece, Kingston/Jamaica we are very happy and thankful for this fantastic public exposure for HELP Jamaica!, as this show was watched by 3,5 million people!
Big up Gentleman for the great support!
The members of the HELP Jamaica! team and volunteers got together and took a “team outing” trip to Alligator Pond on July 6, before starting Summer school this year.
This was right after we celebrated an accomplishment of facilitating over 120 children attending the center on a daily basis.
Alligator Pond was just the place to be for all team members, as they, for the first time experienced such togetherness and relaxing moments for a change, fostering excellent team building growth, and rewarded themselves for their great everyday efforts. The team enjoyed a day at the beach, some seafood for lunch, time to relax and a friendly soccer match against a local team right at the beach – and what should i say our team beat them bad!
This year’s Summer Program at the HELP Jamaica! Center was most exciting. There were many activities with bursts of excitement.
Our programs included First Aid Training, Arts and Craft – including Basketry, Sewing, Jewelry Making, Gift Boxes, Bows and Tying of gift boxes, Balloon Craft, Flower Decorating, Sign Language, Yoga and much more.
Music was ongoing, as the children sang at intervals and especially when they were returning from any outing, which signified much enjoyment. More than one hundred children attended daily, and this year was a breaking year with much planned activities, as most children had no other place to spend their summer vacation after a stressful year of regulated classes within the school system.
Our Center at Cassava Piece was the place to relax and have fun. We had children from all areas, even from rural Jamaica visiting the Education Center daily to partake in the Summer Sessions!
Trip to Sport Games at ‘Mona Bowl’
On July 13, 2013 our first field trip with the children was to the CVSS Annual Games held at the ‘Mona Bowl’ UWI Campus in Kingston. It was a wonderful day full of fun for everybody, 44 excited kids entering one bus, ready to roll out…
At this function our children met the Canadian ambassador, who was the patron at the games. It was a first encounter for the children as they got an opportunity to mingle with other children from communities like theirs. The level of competition was very high, and the children learnt how important it was to be prepared for competitiveness, not only for themselves but with others.
Trip to Wynters Park & Farm
During the first phase of Summer School also, we accommodated 31 children to Wynters Park and Farm, Kitson Town, St Catherine, a popular park for children from all over Jamaica to enjoy different recreational activities. They had a day of fun. Wynters Park is a popular venue for birthday parties, weddings and reception. The children enjoyed the host of activities provided for them and had lunch provided by the park’s management. The kids enjoyed the many slides, swings, bounce-about, see-saw, pony horse and tyre swings as well as the mini zoo and a great view from the mountain top.
Jamaican football celebrities visiting the Center
At July 26, 2013, we welcomed Andrew Price – head of the Jamaican Premier League together with Carlos Wright – Boys Town, Jermaine (Tuffy) Anderson – Waterhouse, Kasai Hinds – Tivoli Gardens Football Club and Raylon Paisley – Arnett Gardens to the Center!
The visit was to establish a little League Football Club at the Center to assist the children of the Cassava Piece and surrounding inner-city communities. The league is to accommodate school age boys ages 6 – 16. Children registered in the club are from Cassava Piece, Big Yard, Grants Pen, Manning’s Hill Road, Whitehall Avenue, and Red Hills Road and as far as Lawrence Tavern and Ackee Walk.
Andrew Price – head of the Premier League, handed over six footballs to the team players and children in attendance at the Center!
Three day history workshop
Thirty eight children and team members of the HELP Jamaica! Education Center enjoyed three amazing days of history workshops at the Center with drama, music, art, documentaries, dub poetry, discussions, with the theme being “ Jamaican national heroes, their struggles and tribulations, their visions and their missions!
We discussed these historic topics, talked about the meaning of these historic events which affected them then and for us especially the young generation today! The youths were amazed at the information they received, they were fascinated by their history and clearly saw the problems which existed then and now, and tried to find out some of the answers. We really need to start listening!
History workshop trip to Portland
Our final trip for the summer was to Charles Town, Buff Bay, and Moore Town in the parish of Portland.
The field trip to visit the Charles Town Maroons was full of positive spirit and vibes! We all really enjoyed the outing, learned a lot about the Windward Maroons and their customs, and experienced Maroon food, drumming and dancing! We traveled further up into the mountains of the Rio Grande and paid respect to Nanny, visited the spot where she was buried and the monument erected in her honor at Moore Town and learned more about the Maroons in that area and stories of the wars against colonialism and slavery.
After a day of joy, full of new knowledge and experiences and with pride in Jamaica’s heritage, we returned safe and sound to Kingston in the evening.
The last weeks of Summer School Session Two, continued with much fun, joy and enthusiasm as the children summed up their holidays at the HELP Jamaica! Education Center! - remembering the theme song and chorus of the History Workshop which theme song rang in their ears “we deh pon a mission, mission, mission!”
Our much improved Summer Program 2013 was a great success, and we at the Center have already published our new schedule of courses for the new school term.
Slideshow of the Summer Program 2013
The 2013 Reggae Jam Festival in Bersenbrück was simply a blast and once more a great success for HELP Jamaica!
Big up to Sheriff the promoter and the whole Reggae Jam family! It is always a great pleasure working with you, your hospitality and support is just awesome! You can’t even imagine what this support means to HELP Jamaica!
Big up Ganjaman and co-host Ron Muschette (from IRIE FM) for promoting us continually on the stages. Big up the Reggaeville team and all photographers who helped and donated their time, all artists and sounds who did show interest and promised their support, the Reggae Jam security-crew who respected and supported our work backstage and on the festival ground. And not to forget the volunteer teams who collected the deposit beer cups with our yellow bins on all three festival days.
Thanks to the Reggae Jam, RIDDIM, Kaboom Pepper, SEEN, Ma Ting, Schlachthofbronx, Jugglerz, Supersonic, Soundquake, Heckert Empire, Da Sandwichmaker and all the others who donated prizes for our big charity-tombola and of course all the people who supported HELP Jamaica! with their donations, their deposit-cups, by purchasing our tombola (raffle) tickets, a brand new Skank ’Gullyside College’ shirt and with their encouragement and compliments! Thank you all – it felt good to see that so many wonderful people share our vision! Together we really make a change!
Due to the cooperation with the Reggae Jam and all the great opportunities they offered us, we were able to fundraise 4.973,- € by collecting the deposit (beer) cups, by cash donations, and selling our charity products at our info-booth on the festival ground.
The HELP Jamaica! team is already looking forward to next years Reggae Jam festival which will be the 20th jubilee edition!
Impressions of HELP Jamaica! at the Reggae Jam Festival 2013
After the staging of the 2013 SummerJam Festival with 3 days of good music and great performances, the promoter donated 2430,- EUR collected at the festival guestlist.
Big up and thanks from the entire HELP Jamaica! crew to the production team and Contour Music as the promoter, for this great and continuous support over the years. Your support is large!
When Photographer and artist Tiina Palm from Helsinki, Finland, approached us that she would like to volunteer at the Center organizing a photo course, we immediately endorsed it as a wonderful idea. She raised the funds in Finland to buy 15 cameras, brought them to Jamaica and offered a great photo workshop for the people in Cassava Piece and surroundings. In cooperation with the Social Development Commission (SDC), and Kim Cotterel, Tiina shared her knowledge about the technique of photography with the 17 participants in four workshop sessions and photo shootings in various locations in Kingston.
See some shots taken during the workshop sessions:
On April 19th, we had an exhibition of the best shots, with renowned artists, social activist and woman leader Pat Ramsey as our guest speaker sharing her joy and passion about art as a way to be “true to yourself”, to make a change in our communities and to communicate and connect with the world.
The best pictures will also be showcased at an exhibition in Helsinki, where the pictures will be sold and the money donated to HELP Jamaica! to fund future photo projects!
All participants and the facilitators where enthusiastic about the workshop, and the pictures speak for themselves! We thank Tiina Palm, Gavin Myers and Kim Cotterel and congratulate all participants! Continue the great work!
Tiina was right when she explained the purpose of the project in one of her emails: “I am passionate about photography as an art form and really believe in its power to change things. Through photography you can give people a peaceful weapon trough which they can speak louder than with any words.” So let the pictures speak!
Slideshow of some of the best pictures taken by the participatians of the workshop