Stuck in Jamaica, teacher launches online campaign to help others

Stuck in Jamaica, teacher launches online campaign to help others


Friday, May 22, 2020

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In times of adversity, there are some who rise to the challenge to help others in need. The following is a lightly edited submission from one of our readers in the Jamaica Observer series, COVID-19 Kindness, highlighting those who have risen to the challenge.

I'm a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher living in Jinhua City, China.

I came to Jamaica on vacation during the Chinese New Year, landing in Montego Bay, St James, on January 15. I was scheduled to leave on February 7 but couldn't. While being stuck here, I had a lot of time to reflect and decided to give back to the community I came from. That has been my best decision to date.

I'm 29 years old, I was born and raised in Canoe Pond, Oracabessa, St Mary. I was blessed to have been able to go abroad for school and start a great career as a teacher. I taught online until April 17 but when China closed its doors to foreigners there was no longer a need for online teaching once schools reopened. I'm in limbo right now.

Technically I still have my job, but I am no longer being paid until I can return to China. Someone is now covering all my classes.

I'm a permanent resident of the United States, so I do also have that option. I just decided that if I couldn't go back to China right now, I'd much rather stay in Jamaica.

I started donating care packages to Oracabessa's needy two weeks ago. I posted my idea on Instagram and Facebook. I received many phone calls and text messages from people wanting to help. My mother, her friend and her daughter along with friends of mine also donated money, canned food, dried food and vegetables. I got donations of roughly US$250 and I spent J$40,000 of my own.

I initially intended on giving to a few neighbours. So I reached out to my mother's church members who were able to provide a list of the sick and shut-ins, along with those known to be most in need. I'm working through churches, as I believe they will provide an honest list of people most in need. We're faced with very trying times but I believe that if we stick together, we will get through it. That has been, and will continue to be, my only motivation.

On May 18 we gave care packages to 30 families and had extra flour, sugar and tissue to give to walk-ins. Based on the outpouring of support, I will now be doing this monthly, if donations continue.

I will continue to post and encourage via social media and now I'm sharing my story with the Jamaica Observer to spread some joy and motivate others to do the same!

Kimloy Chang, who is from Oracabessa in St Mary, is a 29-year-old science teacher in Jinhua City, China.

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