A CASE FOR JALAWELO
Jalawelo designs programs to serve individuals living in high-risk communities in Jamaica and promotes the development of small social enterprises to help provide them with training and income-generating opportunities.
Jamaica Land We Love (Jalawelo) is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization that was formed in 2011 to support community development efforts in Jamaica. We have intentionally adopted a broad mission statement that allows us to explore innovative approaches to addressing the ongoing needs we see in Jamaica.
Jalawelo has been helping needy individuals and communities by undertaking various projects either alone or in partnership with other organizations. Some of these projects have been financed with funds raised through Jalawelo’s website, which includes a crowdfunding platform. For example, our donors provided funds that allowed us to deliver desperately needed computers, audio/video equipment, and academic software to an inner city primary school in downtown Kingston, and we have funded meals for needy children enrolled in a mentoring program in a summer camp in the parish of St. Ann.
We reject the traditional paradigm that delivers services and support to those in need from the outside and without their input. So we take the time to get to know the individuals and organizations we serve and we work with them to identify those initiatives and opportunities that will help them to reach their goals. In fact, we remain committed to the organizations and communities we support even after raising the funds needed to complete specific projects. We recognize that in addition to their tangible needs, other kinds of help, such as training and strategic planning support, may be required for them to effectively accomplish their mission.
Our Priority for 2018
We have learned from our experience in Jamaica that some of the traditional approaches to community development, while helpful in many ways, have failed to fulfill the promise of providing sustained development in the targeted communities. We are convinced that one key to achieving meaningful change in Jamaica’s most challenged communities is to provide comprehensive support to our youth, who will then be permanently equipped to support themselves and their families, and ultimately impact their communities.
We have noticed that delivering programs en masse to at-risk youth has the potential to ultimately create a sense of hopelessness as the programs generally do not provide any kind of long-term relief to their situation. We have seen what we call “program fatigue” as youth have engaged repeatedly in various externally initiated and funded programs without seeing any change take place in their lives.
Youth who have had limited access to a quality education, social and economic development, and positive home and community environments are particularly at risk and oftentimes join gangs or engage in other harmful activities to achieve a sense of identity and belonging. Youth living in rural areas where resources are limited are also impacted in similar ways. In light of this, as a key area of focus for 2015, we will be embarking on new ways to engage the youth in the communities we serve.
Jamaica’s youth are the future of the nation and we believe that we must begin to engage them in new and exciting ways so we can have a long-term and positive impact on their lives.
Young Adult Circles
Accordingly, we recently designed a Young Adult Circle program for Jamaican youth. Each Circle will consist of a small number of young adults in a disadvantaged community. Jalawelo’s first Young Adult Circle, which will function as a pilot and then be refined and replicated, was created in February 2015 and consists of 12 young adults from the Mountain View section of Kingston. We also plan to launch a Young Adult Circle in a rural community in St. Catherine later this year.
The objective of the Young Adult Circle initiative is to provide personalized overall support to these young people through academic and life skills training, entrepreneurial mentorship, volunteerism, and opportunities for healthy social interaction, all within a structured and Evangelical faith-based context.
We will use technology in a significant way as we work with our youth in all aspects of our engagement. We believe that this comprehensive and forward-thinking approach will go a long way in preparing our young adults to participate in a 21st century global economy and in helping them overcome many of the challenges they face due to poverty, community crime, unemployment, lack of access to basic services, and deficiencies in education, to name a few.
Our Current Need
In order to provide the full range of services to the youth in our Young Adult Circles, Jalawelo will need to raise the funds required to further develop and support this initiative. Although we expect that volunteers will initially supply much of the required human capital, we are seeking to raise the funds we will need to cover the direct costs related to the program and our general administrative expenses. We anticipate that our volunteers will ultimately need to be supported by one or more paid youth development coaches who would help to manage and coordinate the delivery of services and other support to the youth in our Young Adult Circles.
In addition to our Young Adult Circle initiative, Jalawelo will also need resources to continue to support other community development projects and to help other community-based NGO’s increase their capacity to serve their communities. By strengthening these organizations (for example, through leadership and other types of organizational training and support) we believe our people will be best served as we collaborate to realize a vision for Jamaica that no single organization can accomplish.
How You Can Help
You can support this initiative to provide personalized and caring support to our youth by making either a one-time gift or by scheduling recurring donations to Jalawelo by credit card through the Jalawelo website at https://www.jalawelo.org/partnership
Alternatively, you can make a donation by mailing a check payable to Jamaica Land We Love at the following address:
Jamaica Land We Love
1571 Sumneytown Pike
Lansdale, PA 19446
Because Jamaica Land We Love is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, donations made by US taxpayers to Jalawelo are tax deductible.
Please call us atif you have any questions about Jalawelo's work in Jamaica or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.