The most important and fulfilling thing has to be empowering people. Whenever you witness that ‘light turn on’, it makes your heart feel good. The smile on the faces of an empowered person is priceless. Imagine walking into the Denham Town Community Centre, in the Restorative Justice office, and seeing our Jamaican culture being taught. The students were persons who desire the skills needed to take advantage of potential in the tourism industry.
Gerreh/Dinki Mini, Kumina, Quadrill, Brukins, Reggae, Ska, Mento and Dancehall, all being explained, demonstrated and loved. The students are as active and involved as the instructor herself. No question asked by the teacher is met with silence. Each student is eager to give their knowledge and feedback. This is, even if it means correcting the instructor on types of dances associated with the 80’s. The vibe was not the typical classroom setting but more like a ‘reasoning’ session where everyone was learning something new.
The instructor, Atthiea Wray states that this cultural class is her favorite. She went on to explain that it teaches the participants about their history. It also teaches, who and what allowed the participants to be where they are now.
Managing Director of the Premier Tourism Training Institute, Mr. Christopher Williams, is quite pleased with the way the program is being received by the students. The news spread like wild fire to the entire community after the fist iteration of the training. Now, he always gets requests for available space. On top of that, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which funds the project, is also pleased with the tangible impact.
Premiere Tourism Training Institute has been able to create an extensive schedule to bring this type of training to many other communities across the island.
Impact on Tourism Students
Since the saying is ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Good News Jamaica interviewed some of the students to get their feedback on how the training has impacted their lives. David Green Sword is no newbie in the tourism industry but was excited with the possibilities the course was introducing.
Sean Smith has always had big dreams for Denham Town’s viability with tourism. He conveyed his excitement about the exposure when Good News Jamaica caught up with him. Likewise, his desire has now become tangible. Where there was an idea before, a newly ignited flame burns with purpose and a yearning to know more.
In seeing how much these gentlemen were impacted by the course, they were asked where they would want to migrate to when they get a chance. The answers they gave were real, and also welcoming. Both men did not want to leave Jamaica. David stated, “I don’t think that I would want to migrate from the country. I would rather go visit places to get the experience and some sights like that but I must come back”. Sean added, “Like the song says, ‘Jamaica nice’ so why would you want to leave niceness?”
Good News Jamaica interviewed one female who was nervous until we spoke about the things she loved from the course. Tonisheree Robertson came to the course at first because she wanted to be placed in a job at the end. Going through the course has opened her up to many other prospects.
Mr. Christopher Williams also expressed that “the expected end result of this program is total quality improvement both in the community, the workforce and physical environment. This will ultimately result in increased levels of skills, greater self-empowerment and assertiveness, improved marketability, higher self-esteem, greater job satisfaction and a higher level of motivation among trainees leading to improved patriotism.” All of these expected outcomes were already witnessed in the short time Good News Jamaica spent with the programme.
Good News Jamaica was introduced to this programme by the communities Peace Management Initiative representative Mr. Deon Green. Thank you Mr. Green for making sure we learned about this powerfully positive initiative that is consistently improving lives.