Guyana – Jamaica group raises funds for schools

From left, Yvonne J Graham, associate commissioner director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention with President of GJFA Guyanese American Dr. Frank A. Denbow and VP Jamaican American Claudette Powell, MA, RN.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

The warm greetings that were exchanged by nationals at the first Fundraising Dinner and Dance of the Guyana Jamaica Friendship Association Inc. (New York), was a clear indication that benefactors were committed to working together with the board for the betterment of students back home.

Entertaining music by popular Guyanese DJ FLEXX and festive Jamaican cuisine dished out at the Bayside Adria Hotel & Conference Center on Oct. 5, helped to raise much needed funds to benefit the Moshabo Primary School on the Essequibo Coast of Guyana and the Aeolus Valley All-Age School in St. Thomas, Jamaica.

The monies will go directly to a breakfast program at both schools to provide adequate nutrition, in addition to the association’s focused educational programs that would supply educational material to the sixth to ninth graders.

The committee, chaired by Guyanese American Internist, Dr. Frank A. Denbow, held its inaugural meeting in January 2014, and adopted a constitution to provide material assistance and guidance to Guyanese and Jamaican students in the U.S.

Partnerships with non-profit organization in the Tri-State area and elsewhere to assist Jamaicans and Guyanese in their respective countries, as well as provide medical assistance to individuals who reside in less affluent areas. The group will encourage travel between the countries in support of cultural and sporting exchanges between Guyanese and Jamaicans.

Dr. Denbow said one organization would be unsuccessful in reaching out to all schools. As such, GJFA adopted two schools and hope that its model would be a template for other organizations to follow. “One of the endearing features about Guyanese and Jamaicans who came from poor areas, is when they succeed abroad, they give back to whence they came,” said Denbow.

“The committee plans a January 2015 visit with the principal of Jamaica’s Aeolus Valley All-Age,” said Dr. Denbow who is keen on collaborating with authorities in the various countries, such as the Guyana Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the Ministry of Education that would better understand the needs of the institutions.

With ongoing programs planned and bigger fundraising in the works for the new year, the committee will continue to reach out to the Diaspora in the Tri-State area and beyond to expand its programs including health missions to the partnering countries.

“As our name suggests, we want to foster good relations between Guyanese and Jamaicans,” said Dr. Denbow who named Fly Jamaica, as the first privately owned airline owned by a Guyanese and a Jamaican, that provide roundtrip flights between the two countries.

“We want to piggyback on this friendship so that Jamaicans can experience the beauty of Guyana’s hinterland, and Guyanese can enjoy the splendor of Jamaica’s Montego Bay, Ochio Rios, said the professional, adding that GJFA plans to have friendly competition in New York.

Jamaican American, Yvonne J. Graham, associate commissioner director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention, and former Brooklyn deputy borough president who Dr. Denbow described as a dynamic person, was on hand to show support for the organization.

Other prominent nationals he said would be invited to ongoing initiatives while the organization works with innovative learning entities to engage locals to create self-sufficient communities.

The committee includes professionals from the medical, financial and educational sectors. They are Claudette Powell, MA, RN, vice president, Chauncey Lee, RN, secretary, Charles Fuser, CPA treasurer, Gregory Stall, organizing secretary and Karen Wharton, public relations.

Join GJFA on Facebook page to learn more.

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