Kingston, Jamaica – 28 January 2018: The staff and residents of the Mustard Seed Communities are gearing up for the construction of a new multi-purpose centre at their St Catherine-based Jerusalem residential care facility for children with special needs. This, after receiving a JA$16.5 million grant from Digicel Chairman Denis O’Brien through the Digicel Foundation.
The funds were handed over to founder of the Mustard Seed Communities, Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, at the Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston, on Monday January 28.
The new multi-purpose centre will house an art therapy room, arts and craft and woodworking workshop, a home economics centre, distance learning, and computer education area for residents and staff, a large multi-purpose reception hall, a large storage room, an office, gift shop and a classroom for adult literacy
The centre will be the second of its kind to be built by the Digicel Foundation for Mustard Seed, following the construction of Jacob’s ladder in St Ann, completed in 2014. The Jacob’s Ladder facility was established to expand the scope of skills training being offered to adult residents with Special Needs. In addition, six residential cottages were constructed on the property to expand the living facilities.
“After seeing how much the facilities enhanced the day-to-day lives of staff and residents at Jacob’s Ladder, we’re so happy to be able to do the same for the group at the Jerusalem Community,” said an enthused Darcy Tulloch- Williams, Executive Director of Mustard Seed Communities Jamaica.
She continued, “Often times the special needs community is ignored. However, Digicel and Mr. O’Brien are always there to assist, and for that we’re very grateful.”
Founder and patron of the Digicel Foundation, Denis O’Brien responded, “Through this partnership with Mustard Seed, we continue to enhance the lives of persons with special needs. Valuable skills will be learnt here; skills that will empower and prepare our young people to participate in the society and lead wholesome, productive lives,” O’Brien commented.
The Mustard Seed Communities was established in 1978 in the impoverished community of Mona Common on the outskirts of Kingston, as a home for a handful of abandoned and disabled children.
Today, the group has expanded to serve over 600 children, young adults, and families who belong to the most vulnerable groups in Jamaican society. The populations of the homes, which now are spread across the island, include children and young adults with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and teen mothers along with their babies. The Mustard Seed Communities also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide education to local populations.