Diaspora to help Jamaica’s educational system

Leo Gilling, JDETF.

A large cross-section of Jamaicans living in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are participating in the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force (JDETF) group. The group aims to maximize the development of the educational programs in Jamaica and has launched a fundraising drive “pledge2build.”

On Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 at the Jamaican Consulate office in New York City, the newly appointed, Consul General Trudy Deans welcomed the group as its hostess to this ambitious drive. Deans in her remarks said, “It is imperative to know that this project cannot be done in isolation. It is to help build early childhood education and train teachers in Jamaica. We need the Diaspora to align with the teachers by participating in this plan.”

“Pledge2build” aims to raise two million United States dollars from Jamaicans across the world within three months. The parent partner for this task force is the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA), which will be the fiscal conduit for the fundraising drive. Lesleyann Samuel, president of UJAA and a member of the educational task force said, “the task force is highly engaged in establishing an efficient plan to advance education in Jamaica and decades of planning has been done to make it possible.” In continuing her comment, Samuel reiterated the goal of the task force by saying, “this is a task force with an ambitious plan and we want it to be a sustainable project for Jamaica’s education.”

In a compelling presentation, the plans were outlined by the JDETF Leader Leo Gillings who called for Jamaicans in the Diaspora to participate. Gillings said the intention was to first alert the more than three million Jamaicans in the Diaspora of their need to play a greater role in the development and transformation of the education system in Jamaica. “We have to make sure we are filling the gaps that the government cannot fill in Jamaica.” Gillings demonstrated the format for a complete inclusion from all in the Diaspora. He explained the process the educational task force will utilize to reach its goal by Jan. 31, 2017.

According to Gillings several actions have already been undertaken including launching a web site, hiring public relations and certified public accounting firms, and establishing relations with the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs and Industry in Jamaica, the media and the Jamaica Teachers Association. All these individuals and agencies are in alignment to support the project, he stated. “This is one thing that we can do as a public affair that will be transparent to anyone who is interested.”

“Pledge2build fundraising campaign is an inter-parish competition among Jamaicans across the globe where donors will compete to raise funds for their respective parishes. The drive began on Nov. 1, 2016 and will end on Jan. 31, 2017. www.pledge2build.com.

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