Sandals Foundation launches skills project for teen moms

Saturday, January 09, 2016

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THE Sandals Foundation, in partnership with Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA), has launched a skills training programme for teenage mothers.

The initiative, which will focus on sewing, targets over 20 girls who live in Westmoreland and Hanover and are attending classes at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) in Savanna-la-Mar.


To launch the programme, four new sewing machines, two serger machines, fabric, and sewing supplies were purchased and given to the WCJF along with four refurbished machines, which were owned by the centre and out of commission for some time.


In addressing students at the facility during the official handover last Wednesday, Sandals Negril General Manager David Latchimy remarked: "You are going through a life-changing experience and we are here to celebrate the future with you. These instruments are resources that will give you the skills you need to create a sustainable future for yourselves and your families. The garment industry will never go out of style, so there will always be a job for you in the local market or internationally," he said.


Beaches and Grand Pineapple Negril General Manager Adrian Whitehead, who was also on hand to share in what he described as a "proud moment" for the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, charged the adolescent mothers to "take this opportunity and run with it!"


Formal instruction in sewing will be facilitated weekly by Acting Centre Manager Mellissa Boothe-Anderson and at the end of the 2015/2016 school year, one objective is to have girls in the programme acquire basic sewing skills which will enable them to matriculate to a HEART Trust/NTA certification programme.


""The women’s centre is cognisant of the importance of harnessing a skill set and this will provide the right launching pad for our teen mothers, some of whom will not be able to re-enter high school but instead have to move into a vocational programme," said Boothe-Anderson.


One of the girls in her care added: "I really appreciate the donations and I will have fun sewing my baby’s chemise, clothes, and anything she needs. I’m excited because one day I might even be able to sew my own clothes, sheets, and curtains, and start a business. I am now motivated to work harder and be consistent in whatever I do," said the young mother.


The Sandals Foundation also uses WHOA to provide support and mentorship via partnerships with organisations such as PACE (Providing Access to Continued Education) in The Bahamas, Women’s Health Network Jamaica, and Sweet Water Foundation in Grenada, among others.

 


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