Friday, October 14, 2016

Digicel Jamaica Foundation celebrates 2015-2016 achievements

It is such a great honour to be Chairman of the Digicel Jamaica Foundation
Here is my welcome address at the launch of their Annual Report for the year ended 31 March, 2016.  The event was held at the Digicel Regional Headquarters in downtown Kingston, Jamaica on Thursday 13 October 2016:
Welcome Minister! Sen. Hon. Ruel Reid (3rd left) on arrival at event is welcomed by Jean Lowrie-Chin, Chair, Digicel Jamaica Foundation, CEO Samantha Chantrelle and COO Dane Richardson
Master of Ceremonies, Krystal Tomlinson; Senator the Hon Ruel Reid, Minister of Education; Mrs Maura Barry-Boyle, Mission Director, USAID Jamaica; Mrs Lisa Lewis, Immediate Past Chair, Digicel Jamaica Foundation; Digicel Jamaica Foundation CEO Samantha Chantrelle
Dedicated Partners in Education, Special Needs and Community Development; Members of the Media; Colleagues of the Board, Management and Staff of Digicel Jamaica; Friends all:

USAID Mission Director Maura Barry-Boyle
On behalf of our Patron, Denis O’Brien, Digicel Foundation International CEO Maria Mulcahy and the Digicel Jamaica Foundation Team, it is a pleasure and an honour to welcome you most heartily to the launch of the Annual Report of the Digicel Foundation in Jamaica for the Year Ended March 31, 2016. 

We are one of four such Foundations and similar launches are being held in Papua New Guinea, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti, where their Digicel Foundation Team is actively on the ground assisting Hurricane victims. Our prayers are with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Honourable Minister, Senator, partners, this occasion is actually a celebration of the extraordinary Jamaicans who make the work of the Digicel Foundation gratifying and joyful. 
As our team members traverse the hills and valleys of Jamaica, the resulting projects demonstrate the great faith of our people in their country and in themselves.

Carlyle Gabbidon & Fabian Jackson of DeafCan! Coffee
You will note that in the financial year covered by this report, US$3.6 million has been invested and that since the launch of the Digicel Foundation in Jamaica 12 years ago, a total of US$262.2 million was invested in projects for education, special needs, community development and the Respect Jamaica campaign.

However, this Annual Report goes beyond statistics to showcase our wonderful Jamaican sisters and brothers. You will meet Son-Son, one of the children who blossomed under the Education Enrichment programme in 104 primary schools, generously supported by the USAID in partnership with the Ministry of Education. 
Donna Davidson - Early Stimulation Plus Programme
You will meet Shantoi and Samoi, special needs students who are responding well in the Early Stimulation Programme.
You will learn about Carlyle at DeafCan! Coffee who is now empowered to be a member of the company’s management team, and also meet his colleague Fabian later.  You will enjoy learning about Respect Jamaica Youth Ambassador Jherane, who created a prize-winning campaign against gender-based violence.

Because simply handing over a cheque cannot solve a situation, our Digicel Foundation team, led by Samantha Chantrelle and senior managers Dane Richardson and Patrice Smith-Sterling, have travelled throughout the island in response to funding applications.  They have worked closely with our partners, honouring Digicel’s belief that human resources are the most precious assets of any project.

Colleen Pigeon of the Canadian High Commission,  with
Digicel Foundation's Dane Richardson and Digicel's Trisha Williams-Singh
The board’s Project approval committee, chaired by Karlene Dawson examines submissions, and we are amazed continually, at the efforts of the humblest Jamaican folks.  

They come to us, having already secured other partners, or digging deep from their own resources. They are hardworking, dignified Jamaicans, and we at the Digicel Foundation feel very honoured to be their partners.

As this morning’s event unfolds, you will hear more of their uplifting stories, and you will be reassured that their extraordinary efforts will keep us on track towards a strong and shining future for our beloved Jamaica.
Once again, we heartily welcome you, as you share with the Digicel Foundation a morning of faith, hope, love and respect.
Thank you!

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