Diaspora to raise US$2 million for education

Create: 10/31/2016 - 05:29
Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks (3rd left), listens as Chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force (JDETF), Leo Gilling (second left), explains the concept behind the fundraising campaign – ‘Pledge 2 Build’ – which was launched at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, DC, on October 26.  Others (from left) are President of the Jamaica Association of Maryland (JAM), Reverend Dr Noel Godfrey; President of the National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO), Rick N

WASHINGON DC, United States (JIS) — The Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force (JDETF) has launched a campaign called ‘Pledge 2 Build’, to raise US$2 million over the next three months to support education in Jamaica.

The fund-raising drive was officially launched by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, at a reception held at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, DC, on October 26.

Money collected will go towards upgrading the infrastructure of early-childhood and primary schools in Jamaica. A portion of the proceeds will also be used for professional development and training of teachers at various levels of the educational system.

In her address, Ambassador Marks urged members of the Diaspora to support this worthwhile venture, as it seeks to improve the education system.

“I encourage all gathered here today to support this important drive, and I’m confident that with the strength and determination that define us as Jamaicans, we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to,” she said.

The ambassador added that the Diaspora will be helping the country, through education, to be the place of choice to work, live and raise a family, which is in keeping with the National Development Plan of Jamaica.

She said that since its inception in 2013, the JDETF has become a model for Diaspora engagement in the area of education. Its unique approach has been one of fact-finding, partnership, integration and implementation.

Ambassador Marks pointed out that in 2014 the JDETF staged its first Education Summit and the Task Force has undertaken a number of projects to include the training of teachers, providing scholarships and laptops to students, all of which help to fill gaps in the current education system in Jamaica.

She said that as part of the JDETF’s continued engagement and partnership with stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), the organisation has reached out to the diaspora across the globe to encourage members to respond in a more tangible way to help improve educational infrastructure at the early-childhood and primary levels.

“I am heartened by the love of country that so many of you in the diaspora have demonstrated by the many projects you have been engaged in right across the United States over these many years, all for the benefit of Jamaica,” the ambassador said.

Chairman of the JDETF, Leo Gilling, pointed out that the fundraising drive will be launched at the various Jamaican missions in North America, Canada and the United Kingdom.

He said one feature of the fundraising campaign will be an inter-parish competition among Jamaicans across the globe. Donors will compete to raise funds for their respective parishes.

Gilling noted the official campaign will commence on November 1 and last until January 31, 2017.

He noted that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith and Education Minister Ruel Reid have endorsed the fund-raising campaign.

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