On receiving a J$1 million grant from the Digicel Foundation/Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, the Rockfort Development Council Benevolent Society (RODECO) has expanded its social enterprise project for the betterment of young people in Rockfort, East Kingston.
The funds were used to purchase additional chairs, tables and entertainment systems for an event-hosting and equipment rental business run by RODECO. The investment will strengthen RODECO’s core business as well as to help start a journalism programme that will spawn a community-based newspaper.
RODECO was established in 2001 out of the need to develop and maintain social intervention programmes that can provide jobs and opportunities for young people in the community who were deemed at risk of turning to violence.
In welcoming the donation, group leader, twenty-five year old Jemar Green, commented, “This is a big boost for the business, because it means we can serve the needs of more customers, while creating employment opportunities for more young people in Rockfort.” He continued, “Using this business as a means to reduce violence in Rockfort has worked, and we want to thank the Digicel Foundation and the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme for investing us.”
The money made from the business goes towards funding workshops, skills training and community events that contribute towards a safer, more educated Rockfort.
From RODECO’s first grant in 2015 from the USAID, the social entrepreneurs have not turned back on their mission to build a sustainable business that enables self-sufficiency and a safe society.
“RODECO is a good example of how change at the community level can be influenced by young people who are positively engaged,” said Dane Richardson, CEO of Digicel Foundation. “We applaud Jemar and his team for the determination and ambition they have shown as they work closely with other community members to uplift the area. We’ve noticed, and we are very proud to provide this boost of capital to the business.”
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognizes and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. As well as awarding inspirational young people, Queen’s Young Leaders Grants will be made to organizations in selected Commonwealth countries that can show they are improving the lives of young people.
Applications for a QYL grant are open. Interested persons can email Digicel Foundation at DFApplications@digicelgroup.com for more information.