Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday: Intention & Desire - Becoming

From Joan Grant-Cummings ....
And from Mariama Williams ....
Joan 'Joy' Grant Cummings
Development Specialist – Gender, Environment
Caribbean Development Activists Women's Network (Caribbean DAWN)
Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC)
Women's Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC)
Research Cluster
47 Beechwood Avenue (10)
Tel: 876-929-8873; 876-342-6940

Digicel Foundation hosts Community Development Forum

Several key stakeholders and partners from the Digicel Foundation NGO community attended a forum earlier this month - held under the theme "Building Strategic Partnerships  and Collaboration in Community Development."  It was an informative and dynamic event as various NGOs explained how they established enterprises that funded their goals and provided employment for members of their communities.

Digicel Foundation's CEO, Samantha Chantrelle (right) shares a light moment with  LIME Foundation CEO, Errol Miller. Occasion was the Digicel Foundation Community Development Forum , at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Tuesday, July, 1 2014. The forum dubbed "Building Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration in Community Development," was guided by keynote speaker, Dr. Kadamawe K'nife, Director of the Office of Social Entrepreneurship, UWI. Dr. K'nife emphasised the need for all NGOs to ensure that they have a sustainable venture in order to maximise on the social impact they are able to achieve.


Dennis Chung (left), CEO of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) makes a point to Cush Lewis (right), Strategic Manager and Learning Specialist, Digicel Foundation.

Key NGO partners and stakeholders met at the Digicel Foundation Community Development Forum held under the theme, "Building Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration in Community Development" on July 1, 2014. Seen here, Kerry-Jo Lyn (2nd left) Senior Programme Manager for Community Development, Digicel Foundation engages participants in a lively discussion. From left are, Saffrey Brown JN Foundation General Manager, Sonita Abrahams, Executive Director of RISE Life, and Kim Mair, CEO of the Joan Duncan Foundation. Participants were reminded that when deciding on how to spend their funds, they should ascertain the long-term viability of the initiative to attain maximum social impact.

From :
Tashna-Toya Edwards
Account Executive
6 Kingsway | Kingston 10 | Jamaica W.I
Tel: (876) 926 6740 | Cell: (876) 383 2150 | Fax: 926 8676

...follow through sets us apart

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

St George’s College and Jesuits of Jamaica Mourn Passing of Honourable Raymond Chang

Hon. Raymond Chang O.J.
St. George’s College and the Jesuits of Jamaica are deeply saddened and mourn the passing of Hon. Raymond Chang OJ, an authentic friend.  He was a humble and cheerful man with a big heart.  He was extremely generous to many not only with his treasure, but also with his time and expertise. 

He never forgot his alma mater St. Georges College, contributing generously from his belongings, as well as from his passion for betterment and his love for Jamaica.  He gave of himself, serving on the St. George’s College Old Boys Association executive, and provided his expertise as a member of the Board of Directors for the College’s Endowment Fund.  Though we deeply feel the loss, St. George’s College and the Jesuits are grateful for the time he had with us.  Both Canada and Jamaica have suffered the loss of a brilliant and distinguished man, a true son of our nation.

On behalf of St. George’s College and the Jesuits of Jamaica, we extend sincere condolences to his beloved wife Donette and his two children.  May he see God face to face.

Fr Chris Llanos SJ
St George’s College Endowment Fund

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Farewell Nurse Extraordinaire Leleka Champagnie

The wonderful Leleka Champagnie
 My best memory of Leleka Champagnie was her inviting me to the car park after a CCRP event three years ago, ‘so you can see what I am driving now.’  The then 91-year-old past president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, with that endearing twinkle in her eyes, pointed to a spanking new sedan, complete with spoiler!   Leleka was walking strongly - not even a stick she used.  Later that year, her dear friend Syringa Marshall-Burnett told us that she attended an international conference.

That was the ever youthful Leleka, a founding member and spirited participant in our CCRP  activities.  After a short illness, Leleka passed away earlier this month.  Her rich life was celebrated at a moving Thanksgiving Service at the Church of the Open Bible last Thursday.  Our condolence to her family – Rest in Peace, dear Leleka.

Jean Lowrie-Chin
CCRP (Caribbean Community of Retired Persons) 

Special Tribute to Leleka Champagnie from her colleague Syringa Marshall-Burnett, Board Director of CCRP. 

We pay tribute to Mrs. Leleka Champagnie, one of our pioneer members.  She joined CCRP at the age of 91 and was a regular attendee at most of our functions to which she always drove herself.

Leleka belonged to that echelon of nurses who are immortal because of the pioneering and trailblazing work she did in the profession. She was the first holder of the post of Nursing Welfare Officer in the Ministry of Health and she became well known to every nurse in the service. The post was created at a time when nurses were disgruntled and leaving the service.  It was through her intervention that the delay in formally appointing nurses so that they could avail themselves of the benefits of the profession was corrected and the system organized to enable appointments in the service within 6 months of successful employment. 

But it was as a standard bearer in the Nurses Association of Jamaica that she became even better known.  The conditions she found at the Port Maria Hospital activated her and she never looked back from serving the association.  With special training in Negotiations at the UWI Trade Union Institute she was always on the negotiating team.  She is the only staff nurse to have ever been elected President and she was President on 3 different occasions.  The nurses’ hostel bears her name, she was honoured by the Caribbean Nurses Organization and the Government of Jamaica gave her the Order of Distinction, 0fficer class. 

A woman of deep and strong faith, she was an Elder and active member of the Boulevard Baptist Church and rose to administrative positions in the Baptist Union - one of the first females to occupy such an august position.  She has been mentor, guide and a tower of strength to many both in nursing and in her church.  We may not see the likes of Leleka Champagnie again but we are assured that her soul is resting in peace and that Light perpetual shines upon her.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jamaica’s Federation of courageous women

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column – MON 28 July 2014

JFW President Gloria Millwood
It is a myth that Jamaican women do not support each other - Jamaica is blessed in her brave and compassionate sisters who have empowered not only women but all members of their national family.  The Jamaica Federation of Women (JFW) emerged out of a history of strong leaders like National Heroine Nanny of the Maroons, Mary Seacole, who was an angel of mercy to soldiers in the Crimean War of the mid-19th century, and Jessie Ripoll, founder of Alpha in 1880. 

What a charge it gave us to share a morning with the JFW membership from all walks of life as they announced their 70th Anniversary celebrations earlier this month. Did you know it was the JFW that hired a bright young Jamaican to promote our cultural heritage islandwide, more than half century ago? They later obtained a scholarship for her to study speech and drama in England.  That young woman was none other than the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley! 

President Gloria Millwood declared to her JFW members, “Ladies, we are determined to recapture the glory days. Through the determination and hard work of persons like Mrs Cecile Jarrett, Mrs Dotsie Gordon, Mrs Elaine Dreyer, Mrs Grace McKoy and many more, the Federation is being revitalized.” The President grieved over “the dastardly acts inflicted on our children” and pleaded: “We must return to the nurturing of our precious ones – it is up to us to know what is happening to them at all times.” 

Gloria Millwood is an active member of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Lay Magistrates Associations.  She runs Leon’s Beauty Products and Leon’s Beauty School founded in 1944 by her legendary mother, Madame Rose Leon.  The school has produced thousands of graduates, builders of the multi-billion beauty industry in Jamaica.

JFW Chair Cecile Jarrett
Cecile Jarrett, JFW Chair, is Principal of the St John the Baptist School, and a published poet who runs a Foundation with her husband Norman to promote literacy in primary schools in Downtown Kingston.  Mrs. Dotsie Gordon, Vice-Chair is founder of the decades-old DOT Personnel Limited. She was recently appointed Area President of their regional partner, Associated Country Women of the World for the Caribbean, Central and South America.  This organization represents nine million women through its 450 Member Societies in over 70 countries and has consultative status at the United Nations. 

They are walking in the footsteps of such JFW trailblazers as Amy Bailey, May Farquharson and Aggie Bernard. These elder sisters of the Jamaica Federation of Women have been the backbone of our country.  Take for example, Mrs Josephine Lowe now 94 years old, former head of the Pembroke Hall Branch.  She ran numerous fundraisers which saw the community gathering at her home for evenings of food, love and laughter.  To this day, if you want the latest cricket scores, you can count on her for them!  (Her best friend, my dear mother Maisie Lowrie, ensured we took multiple tickets - Mom entered JFW competitions and accumulated many prizes for her cakes.)

The JFW has made their mark on Jamaica’s development, recognizing the importance of early childhood education and creating infant schools through partnerships with various churches in the 1960s. Declaring that a strong family unit was essential for a successful society, they sought to create stability in family life by hosting mass weddings, happily embraced by couples who had been living in common-law unions for years. They started housecraft training centres and encouraged the development of the National Consumers’ League, now headed by one of their ardent leaders, the indefatigable Joyce Campbell.

To promote employment, currently the JFW is training women in personal development, and the packaging and marketing of products.  They have been conducting ‘Darkness to Light’ courses, which help women to understand and prevent child abuse.  They are also partnering with NEPA for an ‘Impact of Climate Change on Families’ programme to address environmental concerns.

Like the women it serves, the Federation is rising above myriad challenges, re-opening branches in St. Elizabeth in 2012 and in St. Mary earlier this year.  While offering a GSAT scholarship for the child of a branch member with the highest average, the JFW has created the Rural Woman of the Year Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award for Executive Members and continues to be a signatory to the Heritage Clubs of Jamaica.

The 70 years of existence of the Jamaica Federation of Women is testimony of their courage and amazing generosity – they are all volunteers. As organisations like the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus, WMW Jamaica, Women’s Leadership Initiative and Women Business Owners, celebrate our success in politics, business and the professions, we acknowledge with gratitude the foundation built for us by the JFW.  Our women’s organisations should find ways of honouring them in this their 70th year – on their shoulders we stand.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Free from ordeal in Sudan, woman condemned for apostasy meets Pope

Pope Francis blesses Mariam Ibrahim of Sudan during a private meeting Thursday at the Vatican. (CNS/Reuters/L'Osservatore Romano)

Vatican City

Meeting a Sudanese woman who risked execution for not renouncing her Catholic faith, Pope Francis thanked Meriam Ibrahim for her steadfast witness to Christ.
The pope spent 30 minutes with Ibrahim, her husband and two small children Thursday, just hours after she had arrived safely in Italy following a brutal ordeal of imprisonment and a death sentence for apostasy in Sudan.
Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told journalists that the encounter in the pope's residence was marked by "affection" and "great serenity and joy."
They had "a beautiful conversation," during which the pope thanked Ibrahim for "her steadfast witness of faith," the priest said.
Ibrahim thanked the pope for the church's prayers and support during her plight, Lombardi said.
The Vatican spokesman said the meeting was a sign of the pope's "closeness, solidarity and presence with all those who suffer for their faith," adding that Ibrahim's ordeal has come to represent the serious challenges many people face in living out their faith.
The informal conversation also touched upon the family's plans now that Ibrahim is free, he said. The pope gave the family a few small gifts, including papal rosaries.
Ibrahim, a 26-year-old Catholic woman originally sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, had been released from prison in Sudan June 23 after intense international pressure. But she was apprehended again the next day at the Khartoum airport with her husband, who is a U.S. citizen, and their nearly 2-year-old son and 2-month-old daughter, who was born in prison just after Ibrahim's death sentence.
Charged with possessing fake travel documents, Ibrahim was not allowed to leave Sudan, but she was released into the custody of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, where she then spent the following month.
Italy's foreign ministry led negotiations with Khartoum for her to be allowed to leave Sudan for Italy.
She arrived in Rome on Thursday aboard an Italian government plane accompanied by her family and Italy's vice foreign minister, Lapo Pistelli, who led the talks that ended in her being allowed to leave Sudan.
Pistelli told reporters at Rome's Ciampino airport that they had left Khartoum at 3:30 a.m. and spent most of the flight sleeping. However, he said, when awake, Martin, the 2-year-old, "practically dismantled the plane."
The president of the group Italians for Darfur, Antonella Napoli, helped organize Ibrahim's visit with the pope.
"Meriam will achieve her dream and see the pope. I had promised her that when we met," Napoli tweeted before Ibrahim's encounter with the pontiff.
Ibrahim joined the Catholic church shortly before she married Daniel Bicensio Wani in 2011.
She was later convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death by hanging. Sudan's penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, which is punishable by death.
The Khartoum archdiocese, which followed her case, had said Ibrahim had never been a Muslim because her Sudanese Muslim father abandoned the family when she was 5, and she was raised according to her mother's faith, Orthodox Christian.
Despite pressure to renounce Christianity in order to be freed, Ibrahim refused. The church in Sudan said the charges against Ibrahim were false and appealed to the Sudanese government to free her from prison.
Ibrahim was scheduled to be in Rome for a few days before heading to New York with her family.