A kitchen and dining facility was officially opened on February 18, at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), Kingston location
The structure will also be used as a classroom when teaching culinary arts, and to host functions.
Most of the funding for the facility was provided by members and supporters of the Washington-based organisation, Jamaica Volunteers Association, and other local entities. The Association provided $61,000 USD, while other fund raising efforts were undertaken to offset other expenses.
During the ceremony, Mr. Oliver Watt, the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture brought greetings on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, and encouraged the teen mothers to believe in themselves.
He thanked the Association for assisting the Foundation in continuing its important work in the island.
Professor Donald Morgan, the President of the Jamaica Volunteers Association, urged Jamaicans, both at home and abroad, to do more in helping to strengthen the social institutions in Jamaica.
He encouraged the teen mothers to strive for excellence in whatever they do, while urging other organisations to engage in the spirit of voluntarism.
Executive Director at the Foundation, Ms. Beryl Weir, expressed gratitude for the facility, adding that the teen mothers were also very appreciative of the facility.
She informed that before the facility was constructed, the teen mothers would normally have to take lunches in stages, as the previous building could not house everyone.
On any given day, Ms. Weir informed that there are approximately 100 girls in attendance at this centre.
The Foundation, an agency of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, is a national institution that addresses the problems of interrupted education and the accompanying social issues associated with teenage pregnancy.
It focuses on education, training and developmental counselling, thereby improving levels of employment and productivity among the young women, and delaying unwanted pregnancies.
Some of the services offered by the centre are: ‘walk-in’ counselling service for women and men; counselling for fathers and parents of teen mothers; skill training for both males and females in the age group 17 to 25 years; confidential counselling service for children of any age, and group peer counselling sessions at the Kingston Counselling Clinic; and day care facilities for babies of teen and working mothers.