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Flashback: A short review of the past year

// April 16th, 2014 // No Comments » // News

Following you’ll find a short review about the progress and achievements at the HELP Jamaica! Education Center in Cassava Piece during 2013. We reached a level of success that we never dreamed of when we opened the Center in  February 2011 . Be a part of the positive changes by supporting HELP Jamaica! with a donation or a sustainable membership!


grouppicture We look back at a very successful year 2013. After three years in operation, we can proudly look at the number 850 registered users from the surrounding communities.  We now welcome 100 children on an average day during the afternoon; and another 50-100 teenagers and adults taking part in the various educational offers within the morning and early evening hours.


The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) preparation courses for the adults (A Caribbean wide accepted Certification and Certificate Course) in English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Spanish and Computer classes are offered by local volunteers free of cost. These volunteers are professional teachers and social workers from the community, who are officially approved and give their time free of cost, to help other people from their community.

adult_cxc The HELP Jamaica! Center’s Adult Education Program is where we recorded the most significant successes over the past year.

We are the only facility, who offer these CXC preparation courses free of charge (at least we are not aware of any other facilities, that offers these programs free of charges).

We now have over 100 participants per course (2013). In 2012, the number of participants was about 30-40 persons for each subject.

With the increase in numbers for our classes, we had to separate the classes in two in order to accommodate the participants and seek additional space next-door in the neighboring school to facilitate the over-crowding at our center.

The certificates gained by participants; studying for these subjects, are most praiseworthy. In 2012 we congratulated 25 participants on gaining successful CXC certification, and we are sure that these numbers will increase in 2014.

At this point we are proudly referring to our Motto: Education for a Change!  Bringing it positive and directly into action.

computer_courses Furthermore we received a generous donation of a complete Computer-Lab (IT-Unit) from the ‘Universal Service Fund’ (Governmental Agency) at the end of the year. The donation Included 16 Computers, a professional printer, network-technology and furnishings.  The official opening of the IT-Unit, took place during the course of our 5th Year Celebration of HELP Jamaica! in Jamaica, February 2014.


These computers are already in use to benefit the community, as we now offer two computer courses daily (for beginners and at an advanced level). Successful certified participants of these courses get the opportunity of direct entry to the job-market through the HEART Trust NTA and further recommendation (to call-centers etc.).

The opening hours of the center have also been extended, with the development and steady growing offers and increasing numbers of visitors.  The Center now opens from 9:00 a.m. in the mornings until 8:00 p.m. in the evenings, five days per week to offer our wide range of educational programs.

basket-weaving Furthermore, we were able to extend our Summer School program during the school vacation period, in comparison to previous years considerably. Our team, together with some of the registered children of the center did several excursions in a hired bus with up to 40 children to places of national interest. In addition, we included the very popular sign-language, basket weaving and many other handcrafts and sport offers to our programs.

In April 2013, Tiina Palm, a supporter from Finland conducted a very successful four-day photo-workshop with persons from the Cassava Piece community in cooperation with HELP Jamaica! and the (Social Development Commission (SDC). Most of the participants never held a camera in their hands before. A selection of the pictures taken, were later published in the RIDDIM magazine (Issue 06-2013).

The development of our Educational Center and the offers on the spot; have advanced more than we had projected and exceeded our expectations for last year.  This would not have been possible without the help of our supporters and their donations.

At our opening in February 2011, we started with only one employee. Today we engage 8 permanent team members daily and are thankful for the support of more than 10 volunteers from the community; some of those are present at the center every day.

Due to the great acceptance of our offered programs and the steady increasing numbers of daily guests; we were forced to increase our team compliment, and to build a second ‘classroom’ on the premises (in 2012). Of course these measures and steady expansions of the offered programs also lead to increasing costs. That is why our center budget for the past year (2013) raised up to an overall amount of 56.000,- EUR.

funtime Again, many thanks to all our supporters! This phenomenal development of the project would not have been possible without their help!

To safeguard our daily operations; and the creation of jobs in the long run, we look forward to a continuous support in the future.

Our work is funded by more than 80 per cent from donations. The remaining 20% are coming from the sales of our charity products, such as the calendars and our t-shirts.

Please help us with your donation, to maintain what we have achieved so far and to make sure we can continue to work accordingly to our Motto:  Education For A Change!

If you have any questions or wish a personal contact, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Link us at Facebook at – and drop a ‘like’ to stay informed!

Forward ever, backward never – we continue our local work at the Center and our fundraising activities in Germany/Europe.



Please support us and become a Sustaining Member!

// April 16th, 2014 // No Comments » // News



Please support our effective work in the Cassava Piece community and help us to maintain the achieved program with the various educational courses for young and old.

The daily homework-care for the children and adult courses (CXC-Preparation) in English, Math, Social Studies, the daily computer courses as well as all the various art & craft offerings, the drama group, the email friendship project with Finland, the various sport & outside activities, the parenting & counseling sessions, the different workshops, the summer program with bus trips to places of national interest etc. – all this is keeping our budget for the center constantly rising over the last three years. We need your support to make sure we can maintain all these achievements!

Keep in mind we started with only 1 employee and opening hours from 2pm-6pm in 2011, today we have a team of 8 persons plus local volunteers and opening hours from 9am-8pm!!!


A sustaining membership is the easiest and most effective way to support us.

Your sustaining membership contribution is tax deductible and can be canceled at any time.

The suggested contribution is either 10,- / 20,- / 40,- € each quarter of the year, but of course you can choose any amount, in any currency.

Download the Sustaining Membership Application, complete it, sign it, and send it to us

via email,  fax – +49 (0) 3212 / 327 57 89 – or postal mail.




Our Computer Courses are now officially certified!

// April 16th, 2014 // No Comments » // News

Some more good news! The HELP Jamaica! Education Center was certified in late February and is now qualified to offer Data Operations Courses.



Certification was done by the Heart Trust NTA and the NCTVET Center. Which will now allow persons within our communities to be taught Data Operations and to achieve qualification and certification to work within the Commonwealth Countries and elsewhere within Caricom and Jamaica.

In other words: The Heart Trust can now recommend those who successfully pass our computer courses to an international job market!! Another plus and a next milestone for our Center.

We offer daily computer courses for adults and students in the morning hours at the Center (basic and advanced level).


Strengthening the German-Jamaican link!

// April 15th, 2014 // No Comments » // News


The HELP Jamaica! Team met ‘Winnie’ Schäfer, headcoach of the Reggae Boyz (the Jamaican National Football Team) in Kingston. He accepted our invitation to visit the Center,  and we hope that we are able to welcome him on our premises very soon.


Strengthening the German-Jamaican link for the common effort:

Education For A Change!


Photography For A Change!

// April 15th, 2014 // No Comments » // News

The Story Of A Photography Workshop in Kingston, Jamaica

The four-day workshop which was held last year April (2013) was organized and conducted by Tiina Palm a supporter from Finland with the help of Gavin Myers of the SDC (Social Development Commission) and HELP Jamaica! with participants from Cassava Piece who ‘never’ really used a camera before.

Thanks to Tiina for a great workshop, which is hopefuly to be continued and all the participants who really took some stunning pics. Check them out!


Photography For A Change! Workshop Magazin /April 2013



// April 15th, 2014 // No Comments » // News


The day after we kept our big 5th Anniversary Celebration and the official opening of our IT-lab (which was an event more likely for adults) we served some ice-cream for the children and expanded our anniversary celebration to a second day.


We had some friends/guests at the Center who helped our team members to put bright smiles on a lot of faces by serving the ice cream cones.

i_scream2web   i_scream4web i_scream3web




Celebrating our 5th Anniversary and official opening of our IT-Unit

// February 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // News

The Invitation

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.”

Guest are entering the premises   The German Ambassador Josef Beck in conversation with Founders Birte Timm & Hilmar Keding Recording artist Macia Griffith with Birte Timm, Minister Paulwell and represantatives of the SDC and National Waste Agency




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.

Front table getting ready to start the ceremony   Mrs. Virginia Chin the CEO of the HELP Jamaica! Education Center hosting the ceremony Co-Founder Hilmar Keding giving a summary of the 'HELP Jamaica! Journey' during 2008-2014




 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.

The ribbon cut opens the IT-Unit officially   Hon. Phillip Paulwell having a look at the new computers at the IT Unit The children proudly showcasing their craft works to Minister Paulwell

Baskets which the children produced with Mr. Darling during the basketry courses   These children from the Education Center were doing the 'sign language' presentation Recording Artist Phenomden from Switzerland in conversation with the RIDDIM Magazin editorial staff (Ellen & Pete)






 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!

Corporate Initiative flyer



Merry Christmas and a happy new year 2014!!!

// December 30th, 2013 // No Comments » // News

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!



Fundraiser for our dedicated volunteer teachers – please give us your support!

// November 11th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // News

cxc_class2 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 - 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:

cxc_orientationday 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.

cxc_class1 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.

cxc_class3 Mr. Morrison and Mr. Jordan – Mathematics

Ms. Markland and Mr. Roberts – English

Ms. Luton – Social Studies

Mr. McLeod – Basic Computer Studies

Ms. Harris – Spanish



Art Project with ‘Barefoot Basterds’ @ the Center October 2012

// November 6th, 2013 // No Comments » // News

gustavo_square Gustavo from Brazil and his friend Antoine from France visited the Education Center for a couple of days during their trip through Jamaica.

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)