Why HELP Jamaica!?
Jamaica is an emerging country and in contrast to many positive associations with this Caribbean island there is a harsh discrepancy to reality. For many decades the country had to face economic challenges which led to unemployment and poverty as well as violence and crime.
The difference between rich and poor is disproportionately large: In 2014 the average gross domestic income reached only approximately $ 4,980, whereas in a developed country like Germany the gross domestic income was about $ 36,000, in the same year the unemployment rate amounted to 6%. In contrast, more than twice as many people were affected by unemployment in Jamaica in that year.
Overall the unemployment rate in the entire Caribbean is approximately 15 to 25 percent, whereas the percentage among adolescents and young adults (under 24 years) is markedly higher. Since 1972 the rate in Jamaica was rarely below 40 percent (1980 it was even higher than 50%).
Moreover, for decades the country has been heavily in dept. By the end of 2014, the debt accumulated to over 13 billion US dollars, which is equivalent to 135% of the gross domestic product. In consequence, Jamaica is number three on the world’s ranking list of national dept.
Due to these economic circumstances a large part of the population is living under problematic conditions. In many households, an adequate water and electricity supply is not ensured.
The murder and crime rate in Jamaica is disproportionately high. In 2014 there were approximately 1,456 registered cases of murder on an island that has a population of only 2.8 million people. In comparison there are about 640 registered murder cases per year in Germany which has a substantially higher population of around 80 million people.
Many of the Jamaican victims and perpetrators are predominantly male teenagers and young adults.
The more we learned about the living conditions in Jamaica, the grinding poverty in certain areas, the high murder and crime rates as well as widespread unemployment in the country, the more we knew that we wanted to contribute and do something positive!
Life in the inner-city
As already mentioned, the difference between rich and poor in Jamaica is disproportionately large. Many of the poorer people are living in so called “inner-city communities” where poverty, crime, unemployment and less opportunities especially for the many children and young adults who live there are the norm.
Among the young parents are many single mothers, who struggle hard to make ends meet. In spite of employment in the formal sector or attempting to make a living by carrying out jobs in the informal sector such as street vending or car washing, many residents are lacking financial resources since many people do not earn more than 100 to 300 US Dollars per month.
Therefore parents often cannot afford public transportation fees and have to face struggles to find money for school books or school uniform. There are no playgrounds, hardly any youth centers or libraries, no music classes or regular sport programmes.
Growing up in such a surrounding it is difficult to develop self-esteem, a positive outlook, confidence and a vision for a better future. That is why we decided that we aim to offer opportunities with free education-, sport-, music- and art programmes according the motto:
Education For A Change!
Learn more about the situation and browse through the links to informative articles and surveys on the conditions in Jamaica.
- UNICEF Jamaica
- Background information – problems concerning children in Jamaica – activities and results
- Former child soldier and current UNICEF advocate encourages Jamaican youth
- Global expert on violence urges Jamaican parliament to focus on children
Jamaica – educational system – overview
- Jamaica – history & background, constitutional and legal foundations, educational system—overview
Article about the Jamaican education system
Crime statistics > murders (per capita) by country
- Jamaica > education statistics
Video: The Cost of Corruption… Jamaica’s Barrier to Prosperity