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JAMAICA 2000    Chairman’s Report 2009 – 2010

As I look back at our tenth year of activities, I feel very proud that so much has been achieved. Currently we are in the process of undertaking a full review in order to realign our work to match both the needs identified and our capacity to meet the challenges of the future. We are now in the process of consulting with agencies and organisations with similar aims to support specific educational initiatives and links between UK and Jamaica e.g. The UK Jamaican Diaspora, Jamaica School Resources and the Gleaner.

This report both looks back, but also looks forward to the next 10 years in recognising JAMAICA 2000’s potential to continue to make a positive contribution.

In the UK in the past year we have been working with the local Jamaican community and schools in Wolverhampton and Birmingham to develop school and possibly City links Wolverhampton - Hanover and Birmingham - Kingston.

The “Jamaican Language and Culture Project” has been revived with a new focus, a lot of interest has been generated in London and Birmingham. The recognition of the bi-lingual skills of Jamaicans is fundamental to one of our key aims to support literacy development in Jamaica, and also to support people of Caribbean heritage in the UK who continue to feature at the lowest levels of attainment academically.

We have successfully completed the Heritage Lottery Funded project “Rastafari: Roots and Developments in the West Midlands” see www.rastafariwestmidlands.co.uk this raised the profile of Jamaica 2K’s work locally and enabled a wide range of community activities to be undertaken and options explored. This project involved community researchers and activists: Moqapi Selassie and Habte Wolde.

As Executive Secretary of our projects, Liz Millman has continued to work tirelessly to maintain and develop the extensive network of links that we have now established, and to create new links and projects.

JAMAICA 2000 is piloting ways to support Learning Links International’s work with Yasus Afari, other Caribbean artistes and Caribbean academics.

In Jamaica in the past year the main achievements have been to develop the British Council / DfID links to enable the establishment of school partnerships. Contacts with Dr Alison Cross, the new Executive Director of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) are bearing fruit and the potential for collaboration in relation to Adult Literacy initiatives in the future is now more likely. 

Joan Andrea Hutchinson, one of Jamaica’s best loved story tellers, a poet and an exceptional performer, also continues to support our efforts in her ongoing activities as an “Ambassador for the Jamaican Language”. Her latest CD of Jamaican proverbs is presented entirely in Jamaican.

The Jamaican Language Unit is also grateful for our ongoing interest in their work and their latest book “Writing Jamaica the Jamaican Way“or “Ow fi rite Jumeiken” is complemented by John McAnuff’s “Jumeikan Langwij Alfabet.

10 years on - JAMAICA 2000 was launched in the year 2000 and has been successful in a range of activities, including:

1. Acting as a link for JAMAL, now the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), and the Jamaican Council for Adult Education and the UK “Skills for Life” initiative, by supporting visits as well as through training opportunities and practical support in piloting the set up of learning centres in Jamaica using computers to teach basic skills

2. Gaining recognition for Jamaican as a language, working with the University of the West Indies and the UK’s Chartered Institute of Linguists, community groups and professional groups in the UK

3. Developing guidance for UK teachers and lecturers on language support for Caribbean Language Speakers through conferences and seminars

4. Supporting better understanding of Black History and Culture in the Caribbean – and now supporting the set up of the “Schools Black History Forum” as well as establishing links with the “Centre for Caribbean Studies” at the University of Warwick and other Universities

5. Promoting books for children, young people and adults that are published in the Caribbean and by Caribbean authors in the UK, we are linking with Dr Cheryl Shelly Robinson in Jamaica and with the UK’s Reading based “Centre for Language and Literacy” through Prof Viv Edwards

6. Enabling educational professionals to travel between Jamaica and UK to meet and explore common areas of interest, with help from the UK’s Department for International Development and other funding sources

7. Supporting better understanding about Rastafari, described by Yasus Afari as “Jamaica’s Gift to the World”, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This also enabled more of a community focus to share better understanding about Black History and Culture

In conclusion:

JAMAICA 2000 will continue to seek funds to support projects and activities that specifically benefit the peoples of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and other communities in the UK and will work closely with the other Jamaican Diaspora organisations.

Ten years on, we would like to thank a number of people who have been active in supporting JAMAICA 2000. The team at the Jamaican High Commission have continued to take an interest in our activities. Special thanks and best wishes to our 4th Patron: Jamaican High Commission Hon Burchell Whiteman O. J., and his wife, and also very many thanks to Delores Cooper the Community Relations Officer of the Jamaican High Commission, for her tireless efforts and support of our activities. We will miss them very much.

Our thanks also go to Melvah Blake (based in Jamaica), who has supported the JAMAICA 2000 link with Jamaica for a considerable time. Melvah’s enthusiasm and passion for recognition of Jamaican as a language was invaluable in our endeavours to support the moves to gain more formal recognition for the languages of the Caribbean.

Thanks are due to Yasus Afari, who has become very active and generous in supporting the development of links and promotion about Jamaican language and culture. He has been keeping the aims of JAMAICA 2000 in the forefront of his “Edutainment” developments. His efforts are very well received by community groups, offender services, schools, colleges and universities in promoting mutual respect and better understanding about Jamaican Language, Heritage and Culture, working with such groups as “Bromsgrove Black History”.

Natalie Fagan Brown has continued to lead on the academic research and development of learning materials and presentations relating to Jamaican and Caribbean languages: their roots, development and position in the world today. Natalie Fagan Brown must be recognised as one of the leading academics in this specialist field and we are very grateful to have her support.

Garfield Robinson has also continued to provide support and encouragement, both with “Promoting our Heritage” and through his work with the Gleaner.

Finally, thanks go to all the JAMAICA 2000 Trustees and especially our Executive Secretary, Liz Millman, who has continued to be the driving force in maintaining our focus on education links, Jamaican language and heritage issues. The collaborative efforts of Liz Millman and Yasus Afari have developed the concept behind “Learning Links International” a “Community Interest Company,” that will support the work of JAMAICA 2000. 

We have gone along way to achieving our aims but we have not yet arrived, we crave your continued support as we move forward.

Stephen Brooks
Chair JAMAICA 2000



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