Nestled between two mountains in the southern part of Jamaica sits a small community in Manchester called Farm. Its rich red dirt and mountainous landscape set against a piercing blue sky can be said to be nothing but beautiful. It is the birth place of Madame Athena.
The Jamaica for Life Project is very close to Madame’s heart. Her father, Godfrey Chang, died of a simple cause, dengue fever (fever from a mosquito bite). His death could have been prevented with early detection and proper medical care. Her father’s unexpected death on Nov 17, 2011 was a reminder that it was time to combine her unending desire to help those with limitations with her passion for health and return home to assist the people of her community. Returning home reminded Madame of the many needs of her birth place: lack of financial resources, limited access to higher levels of education, minimal jobs, no running water, the heightening of preventable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, high rates of alcoholism, increased crime and lack of medical and health knowledge (amongst many more).
The goal of Jamaica for Life is to target low income communities in Jamaica and work one on one with families and schools to assist them with basic health needs. The program consists of the following methods of support:
- Health – we provide clean drinking water, healthy food bags (natural dietary supplements, natural sweeteners, grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, non-toxic cleaning agents, etc.), medical and dental assistance. Health counseling is done through home visits where families’ needs are assessed and individual health plans created. We take a holistic approach to wellness and stress using home grown products. We do repairs on homes to create healthier home environments.
- Educational support – we assist families with school fees, supplies, uniforms and school lunches
- Parental Employment/Career Building – we assist families with creating income sources. In farming areas, we encourage organic farming and invest in resources that will help farming practices.
Lititz All Age School was the first primary school to be established in Jamaica by the Moravians. It is situated in South East St. Elizabeth in the Essex Valley area bordered by the Carpenter Mountains of Manchester and the Santa Cruz Mountains of St. Elizabeth. It was first established as a primary school at a place known as Rowe’s corner in Manchester (formerly St. Elizabeth) in the year 1820. It was removed three years later to a district known as Comma Pen in the same parish and within the same year was finally removed to Lititz.
Lititz is a farming community where subsistence farming is done on a wide scale. Most of the residents fall in the low socio-economic bracket. The majority of the parents are young and unemployed. A wide variety of socio-economic activities are carried out in the community in order to meet the economic needs of the families. These include farming, rearing of livestock and entrepreneurship. The school assists needy students through provision of free lunches. Needy students are also assisted with school supplies donated by friends of the school or past students living overseas. There are approximately 85 students on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH). Presently, 253 students are enrolled at Lititz.
TRENCHTOWN FOR LIFE, BOYS TOWN ALL AGE SCHOOL
Previously housed by For Life Inc, Trenchtown for Life’s core mission was to eliminate specific obstacles which hinder access to education for children living in Trench Town, Jamaica. TTFL aimed to empower families of Trench Town by acting as a support arm in the areas of health and education. Through donated funds, TTFL built a library, donated school supplies, and raised funds for the meal program for the Boys Town All Age School.
Presently, For Life Inc. is completing its services to the Boys Town All Age School. Funds are being allocated for the meal program for a period of four months.
Christine Coley, Founder/Executive Director of Trenchtown for Life, will continue to service Boys Town. For those interested in donating to Boys Town, contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 2012 – Launch of Jamaica for Life
Meeting and Assessing our beautiful families
Delivering Healthy Food Bags and Health Plans
November 2012 – Repairs on homes to make them healthier, secure environments
Before: one of our families had been living in an abandoned home without a roof, windows and doors for 17 years
After: installing a roof, windows and doors
Repair Ms. Carmen’s tank (structure used to store water due to lack of running water in area)
The addition of a new family
January 2016 – Delivery of Check to Lititz School for Breakfast Program
June 2018 – 260 Backpacks Delivered to Lititz School
The Tennessee Music City City Links Chapter donated 100 backpacks and helped with shipping costs; the remaining 160 backpacks were donated by individuals.