In the 1950s and 60s, many Caribbean women, most of them from Jamaica, made the trek to Canada to become domestic helpers, in search of greener pastures and to escape poverty.
Having improved their lives and that of their families and made their mark on Canada, they formed themselves into an umbrella organisation called the Caribbean Pioneer Women of Canada (CPWC) in 1989, with the aim to assist their members, the sick, the elderly, and provide scholarships to deserving young people in their community, as well as showing the positive contribution they have made to Canadian society, despite the odds.
Over the years, the group has given thousands of Canadian dollars to different charities in Canada and the Caribbean. This year as Jamaica marked its 50th Anniversary of Independence, the CPWC reached back to help the New Providence Primary School in Kingston with a much needed donation of J$272,000 to purchase multi-media equipment, computers and chairs for the staffroom.
Presenting the cheque was Thelma Johnson, retired businesswoman, founder of CPWC and a former student of New Providence Primary School.
Johnson was honoured in the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada for her contribution to Canadian Society on June 15, 2005, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Labour Market Agreement between the Government of Canada and Jamaica.