Volunteer Project ‘Ashanti 07/2010’

‘Nuff people come to Jamaica and nah know how we live
Tink say evry’ting nice true we full a vibes and ting
Deh same one feel it to dem heart when dem get fi ovastand di real ting!
………………Look pon the Gully Side do yuh see anyting to smile ’bout ?’


With this Morgen Heritage song and the discussion of the question:
‘Is there really nothing to smile about in Cassava Piece? Or are there special places, people and resources in the community – that, despite all the poverty and violence, may be known for making the community a special place and nice for the children?’

– our German volunteer started off the first educational project of HELP Jamaica! project“, in Cassava Piece, Kingston.

In the following weeks a group of around 20 kids and youths (between 5 – 15 years old) from the community intensively worked on that question.

They first were asked to reflect what they like about their community and what should be different if they had the power to change it. They expressed their views on the positive things e.g. ‘Always vibes’, ‘Play football on a sunday’ and even come up with some ideas and possible solutions to make their environment a better place. ‘Change the violence and stop the fighting – by talking to the people‘ or ‘Stop the killing. Make police walk in the streets’ or ‘When people steal – they should all get food, clothes and shelter’.

Later the kids got single-use cameras which they should take home to shoot pictures of the places they like the most in Cassava Piece during the next week. They returned with pictures from the famous ‘Gullybridge’, their living rooms and yards, the school, friends etc..

They also did colourful drawings of their favourite places and discussed the needs of the community and what a Education Center should provide from their point of view
e.g.: Computers, Painting, Drawing, Games, ‘Help the children to stop violence’, Learn to spell and write, Playground, Toys, Books, TV, Desks and Chairs, DVD, Reggaemusic, Dancehallmusic, ‘Watch out for the children, if they get a cut, they can get it heal’…..

The project ended with an exhibition-party with music, juice, cake, games, etc. for the children and their parents, in the still empty building of the old clinic. The colourful works of the children on the washed out walls gave a first impression of how much life and good vibes we and the children will bring into this building when our Education Center is established and the first courses are running!


We would like to express our gratitude for the support from the Constant Spring Primary and Junior High School and their Principal who gave us the opportunity to use their facility for our first project and to start the first work with the kids – while our own Center is still in the refurbishing process. It was very important to us, to get a first impression of the children, their needs, wishes and aims and try to include them in the process of establishing education programs and possible projects.
This was a next big step towards our soon to be opened Education Center – a positive, lively place were kids get education and find their needs addressed and guidance offered.….

Special thanks to Ashanti our volunteer and Leann (a young but very talented music video director from Kingston) who generously volunteered and supported Ashanti on the project! – see her latest work here:

Artist: Protoje Title: Dread – Video directed by: Leann ‘Dreamseeker’ Ollivierre