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community development in Jamaica

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Communities
with heart

The heart of any community can be found in the places people choose to come together. Often, these places are community centers: safe, informative, supportive spaces where community members can meet and network with like-minded people and help each other grow – places like the Old Harbour Bay Community Development Centre in Jamaica.

OH Community Center

The Centre was established in 2006 to train unemployed and unskilled community members in barbering, hairdressing, and ceramic cup-making. However, in 2007, less than a year after opening, the Centre suffered severe damages from Hurricane Dean and was forced to close its doors for almost a decade.

Driven by the belief that persistence makes dreams come true, Reverend Sandra Nembhard, President of the Centre, worked tirelessly to raise funds to rehabilitate the Centre, which finally reopened in late 2017. Within just a few months, the facility was once again offering skills training, thanks to equipment we were proud to donate.

With these new resources, the Centre attained a critical endorsement from HEART NCVET, the national training body that provides global certification for skilled workers. Today, community members are being trained and certified in the areas of housekeeping, cosmetology, data entry, call center services, and food preparation. More than 250 people have already been certified, and more are enrolling all the time – in fact, the demand has been so great that new programs in landscaping and English language have already been added.

“We're excited, thankful, and heartened to share that after almost 10 years, we opened our doors in September to a cohort of over 145 participants who are now being trained by HEART/NTA instructors,” Rev. Nembhard said. “We cannot thank New Fortress Energy enough for giving us this well-needed push. Even ahead of completing the building of the regasification facility here in Old Harbour Bay, New Fortress Energy has been impacting the community in several ways, including educational assistance for hundreds of students and now helping upskill and uplift our young people.” 

Sometimes, making a positive impact is as simple as getting to the heart of the matter. We’re so honored to have been able to help residents in this Jamaican community, and we can’t wait to see what they do next!