REAP project targets disadvantaged women

REAP project targets disadvantaged women

By Alicia Sutherland Observer staff reporter

Sunday, March 20, 2016

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Mandeville, Manchester — Fifteen young women in Manchester have this month embarked on an empowerment project through non-government organisation Young Women of Purpose (YWOP).

Sharing the principle that it is never too late to reach their goal, the project called REAP (Realise, Embrace, Achieve Your Purpose), targets 13 - 25-year-olds who have been abused in some way or experienced teen pregnancy.

Over the eight-month duration, participants will benefit from training in areas such as sexual and reproductive health, personal and career development, communication skills, and entrepreneurship.

The Commonwealth Youth Council reportedly contributed £2,000 to the cause, while non-government organisation CUSO International provided $J300,000.

Founder and chairman of YWOP Lanisia Rhoden told the audience at the recent launch of the project, at the Manchester Youth Information Centre, that she is particularly pleased to get the initiative off the ground at this time as lack of funding had delayed its implementation.

"This project was written maybe about two years ago. We have tried on several occasions to actually get grant funding to start this programme. For persons who understand how an NGO operates, you will know it is very difficult to run a programme without funding," she said.

Rhoden, a 2009 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Festival Queen for Manchester, started YWOP as her community project then.

The project has grown to include another component — Young Men of Purpose — and is also known for its other activities for youth, such as an annual treat for children with special needs.

Rhoden told the
Jamaica Observer Central that when the REAP project runs its course, participants will still be able to benefit from mentorship through YWOP.

Guest speaker and clinical psychologist Dr Susaye Rattigan told project participants that a negative past should not dictate that their future is the same.

Using her own experiences of being abused to motivate the young women, she said one can choose to see unfortunate experiences as a "crash course in life" and "jewels" … to use as a source of inspiration going forward.

"Your experiences make you a messenger for somebody else; [they] allow you to be a healer for somebody else…[they] allow you to be a teacher for somebody else… [they don’t] have to be something that takes way from who you are as a person," said Rattigan.

Seventeen-year-old mother of one, Julian Fisher, said that she hopes that her involvement in the project will prepare her to get a job or get back in school.

Participant Karlene Roye, who is a twenty-five year old mother of four children, is keen on the entrepreneurship aspect of the programme as she clings to her desire to be a business owner.


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