In the isolated, serene hills of St. James on Jamaica’s west end sits the quaint little school of Retrieve Primary. The school hosts a total of approximately 120 students from grades 1 to 6. But until 2010, only 30 students attended the school.
A hybrid training facility and social enterprise is perhaps the only one of its kind on the island of Jamaica. Here, busy young men in blue jumpsuits are learning skills that will help them to build successful businesses and overcome economic disadvantages.
Thirty-eight-year-old Jennifer, a hairdresser and single mother of four, has been HIV-positive for 14 years. While she is now a strong activist and advocate for the HIV community, this was not always the case. In 1999, when she first learned of her positive status, she feared the stigma that the virus carried with it and, more importantly, the impact that it would have on her children’s lives and futures.
Twelve-year-old Orlando Scarlette sounds out each word and reads his book with confidence. You can see the big, bright smile on his face. He is proud of himself because he can read.
The first view of the Metcalfe Juvenile Remand Center, a “holding facility” for young male offenders who will be brought before the courts for criminal offenses, is not encouraging. Located in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, it is secured by a 50-foot-tall gate with metal facing, topped with rolled barbed wire, and at least five armed security guards circle the entrance. Inside, young boys between the ages of 12 and 17 attend to various duties.
Last updated: March 28, 2017