Empowering and Uplifting Young Women of Jamaica was this year’s theme for the Women Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), during International Women’s Day. Girls from across the country were recognized for their success of breaking through the stereotypes that surround teenaged mothers.
Scotiabank’s annual event, Scotia GEMS (Girls Empowered for Motherhood and Success) took place at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. The students, who comprised of teenaged mother or mother-to-be, were taught about early sex, cancer, human trafficking and career tips. The open forum allowed the girls to ask questions to a panel of professionals.
GEMS awards were given to Shericka Lawrence and Jodian Howard — two former Women Centre students who have completed their CXC with high grades and have moved onto postsecondary education.
The screening of India’s Daughter, a documentary about a young girl who was gang raped and killed in India, was played during the conference. The documentary sparked emotions from many of the students and teachers. Some of whom bravely admitted to being victims to rape. The room filled with emotions as one girl spoke openly about being raped.
“I have taken the matter to court, but I still have to walk pass him everyday. It’s been almost a year and he’s still out there running free. So, just becareful ladies,” said the young girl.
The interactive conference allowed students to participate with chants of positive expressions, lead by the Master of Ceremony, Emprezz Golding.
This is Soctiabank’s second year in organizing the Scotia GEMS.