Amidst the surge in violent crime that has brought death and despair to residents of Trench Town, St Andrew, in recent weeks, two projects designed to improve lives in the tough inner-city community were launched Monday.
Both projects — the development of a well and the refurbishing of a multi-purpose building — are being undertaken at Boys' Town Community Centre by the Rotary Club of St Andrew and are expected to be completed in the next three months.
The refurbishment, projected to cost $5 million, will result in the facility offering computer training, Internet access, after-school programmes, and classrooms.
According to Rotary Club of St Andrew President Audley Deidrick, the approximately 800-square foot multi-purpose building is a part of the former Boys' Town All-Age School.
Deidrick explained that he got the idea four years ago during a visit to the community when he was president of the Airports Authority of Jamaica.
“I got hooked as I saw the need to help develop Boys' Town,” he told the Jamaica Observer after the launch.
Noting that despite the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the club still managed to maintain a relationship with the community.
He said last December the club issued care packages and presented needy people with wheelchairs. “So we have an ongoing relationship with this community. The pandemic may be a hiccup, but it is not a hindrance,” he added.
The well project, which is estimated to cost US$180,000, received primary funding of US$123, 500 from the Rotary International Foundation. It will include the installation of a solar water pump, solar panel, water tanks, testing equipment and piping. More than 3,000 residents in neighbouring communities, including Denham Town, Rose Town, and Arnett Gardens, will also benefit from the provision of potable water.
“The training in the treatment of water and the distribution process has to be done by management and Rotary International requires that, because it is such a sensitive project, it requires people to be trained to apply the chemicals and treat the water and distribute it to the system,” Deidrick told the Observer.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding, who is also the political representative for the community which sits in his St Andrew Southern constituency, pointed out that the well project has been in the pipeline for at least four years.
“The submerged pump has traditionally been run on electricity and because the community had chronic water problems, Boys' Town had to ensure that the pump provided water for the community and it ran up the light bill to an unsustainable level,” said Golding.
“It is good that today we can be celebrating something positive, something uplifting, and something transformational in Trench Town. What this event shows is the importance of partnerships, strategic collaboration and determination not to give in,” he added.
The projects' partners include Rotary Club of University District, Seattle; Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund; Cecil Boswell Facey Foundation; Bob Marley Foundation; and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, operators of Norman Manley and Sangster International airports.