Cassava Piece Education Center – Free access to Education

The aim of the Cassava Piece Education Center is to provide access to books, computers and educational programs free of cost to the citizens of the community and its surrounding. It shall strengthen and inspire individuals, and thus improve, uplift and unite the community. The Center is free of political association or any biases. The Center shall be a peaceful, violence-free, friendly and a welcoming place for all to learn, to engage in educational activities and to be creative. The Center is the community library that embraces the UNESCO public library manifesto “the local gateway to knowledge provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of the individual and social groups“. The community’s assembling space and ultimately a computer learning centre will be part of the Center’s offering to the community.

HELP Jamaica

The Place
The site of the Center is the “Old Clinic” on 5 Cassava Piece Road, Kingston 8. The building was destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. HELP Jamaica! has renovated and refurbished it during the past months and the grounds were designed to facilitate outdoor activities. The plans in the long term involve doing additional construction so that space to house a multimedia centre and assembly area will be available. A wide range of educational and creative courses will provide an attractive programme.

Goals
The programs are designed to enhance self-esteem of youths, to support children and youths in their personal development, to help them discover and develop various talents, to develop practical skills useful for one’s personal life and in job search and shall provide meaningful opportunities. We will inspire children to learn and practice tolerance in social relationships and to develop interpersonal and social skills, empathy, and responsibility.

By offering access to education and uplifting programs, the Center aims to strengthen young people to develop positive perspectives for their own future and ideas how they can change their own circumstances of life and those of others. This, we believe, can help to break the circle of despair, frustration, violence and crime which is destabilizing the Jamaican society.

By involving the work of volunteers from the community, the university, other organizations and groups, we will foster civil engagement, increased partnership, participation and voluntary contributions. We will also create small earning opportunities for course facilitators.

We aim to establish a network of local activists interested in matters of education and positive change as well as an international network of supporters, sponsors and donors to realize the project.

Patrons
While the Center is open to all citizens living in its surroundings and not restricted to any particular age group, the main target groups are children and youths in the age between 5 and 15. Younger children will be allowed in company of adults or elder brothers or sisters.

The services to the adults will be designed based on the recommendations of the Community Advisory Committee; the community will be requesting what projects and programs are most needed.

The Collection
The Center will offer access to a comprehensible book collection with specialization in children books with Caribbean, African and African American background, educational books, books on Caribbean culture, on different countries and other cultures, on biographies of inspiring personalities and guidebooks on parenting, education and youth development.

Computer Center
The Center will in the long term create this facility to introduce computer training to the community to stem the digital divide and encourage the regular use of information technology applications in the day to day lives of the citizens of Cassava Piece. The library will have a few systems for reference services and research. However, introduction to applications and use of the computer on a large scale will not be a full programme offering until the creation of the Computer Center.

Conclusion
The HELP Jamaica! Education Center, Cassava Piece will be a developmental space for the community. Through our programmes we hope to facilitate the development of each member of the community to realize their full potential: Help yourself and HELP Jamaica!

For more information please visit our website:www.helpjamaica.org

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