December 1, 2007.
Growing up in Jamaica, it became apparent to me that I led a privileged life primarily because I had been well-educated and the idea of going to university was never a question of “if” but “when”. I also realized that educational development was a key requirement for the sustainable long-term growth of our country and region but it would be difficult for the government to solely cover the full investment required for education in our region. As an example, when I sat the high school entrance exam in grade 6, there were about 50,000 other students taking the same exam for 20,000 high school places.
As such, I wanted to play my part and set out to create an organization that would serve to educate and develop the youth of our region while working within the construct of the existing educational environment.
In 2000, while at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, I wrote and submitted a proposal to the Warden of Rhodes House to solicit funds for an educational project to take place in rural Jamaica targeting high school students. The Warden at the time liked my proposal so much that he provided me with all seed financing for two years of operations and told me to get the program started as soon as possible. In 2006, we launched our pilot and the rest is history.
I had been one of those persons that felt that I could not do much in the way of educational development unless I moved back permanently to the region. However, my experience with TEACH Caribbean has shown me that with strong cross-border relationships, anything can be achieved.
I challenge the Diaspora and anyone who is either interested in or has visited the Caribbean to get involved in the development of the region. Join an existing organization or start your own!
Walk good (‘farewell’ in Jamaican).