Its August 2017 and we are both aware I have a holiday coming up, it’s a bit of a #Bucketlist destination for me and I was beyond excited. It’s gotta be one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Jamaica. We were sitting in the office discussing the upcoming trip and both looked at each other. This is an opportunity to get our book into some of the schools in Jamaica.
Immediately we put our thinking hats on and in terms of who we could possibly reach out to in Jamaica that could help make this happen. We thought of the perfect person the wonderful and amazing force to be reckoned with Paula Kerr-Jarrett. Now Paula is a person who has pure passion and from the very day I met her I knew we would be lifelong friends. She has this way about her, determination and charm that goes beyond anything I have ever seen. So I sent her a message and explained what Sarah and I had in mind.
Now that is literally all we had to do, Paula created a WhatsApp group of some of the most exceptional people in Jamaica who are passionate about making ‘it’ happen for young children. We now had to put together a plan and OH YEAH make sure the book was tip top and ready to be printed.
Our first 250 books were printed and heading to Jamaica.
Now I had always heard that Jamaica was a paradise amongst paradise and I had visited parts of the Caribbean a lot in the past, but I never realised I was going to fall in love with this vibrant island like I did. There is something very special about this place, the people, culture, music, food, community and creativity. For me it has it all.
We visited three schools Johns Hall, Bickersteth and Chetwood Primary Schools. Two of the schools were in the countryside and one was in Montego Bay town. Immediately my first observation of the schools were how wonderful they were but then I started to look at the equipment the books, desks, chairs! It was a shock to see how little resources these amazing, smart and enthusiastic children have. Two of the schools did not even have computers the children could use!!! (If you have any computers, ipads etc – please let us know)
It saddened me and do you know why it saddened me? Well in UK schools and people in general really do not realise how lucky we are. We are a spoilt nation. I mean seriously these children had arrived in their pristine uniform to listen to the white women speak about digital, with a smile on their faces.
To think we have all this ‘stuff’ in the UK, a real throw away nation. We really have no idea as to what people are living like in our own backyard and in other countries. On top of all that we stole and imprisoned people from their homeland, Africa and took them to the Caribbean, made a tonne of money and pretty certain a lot of people still do and then left them to get on with it. It’s got to stop and we have to start giving back in the right way by educating and empowering people to live a beautiful life.
You see that is exactly what going to Jamaica reinforced for us the total injustice in the world!!! We need to lift the poor throughout the world, including in our own backyard. We cannot allow children in the world to believe they only have these limited options presented to them. They need to realise they can have what they want in life if they just work for it.
Jamaica is going to be one of our targets alongside the UK. Together we will make change.