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Young people form NGO to inspire other youth


MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Aspirar JA, a non-governmental organisation based in Manchester, says since it was formed in January, 300 primary and secondary school students have benefited from its mentorship programme.

Driven by a goal of making the world a better place for all, the organisation says it is seeking to contribute to the development of society through mentorship.

Founder and president of the organisation, Jerome Hanson told the Jamaica Observer that the group has been in the works since last August.

“Operations started in January, but planning and so on started from last August. We have impacted approximately 300 students thus far. We visited five schools, namely Bethabara Primary, Pratville Primary, Victoria Town Primary, Christiana High, and Winston Jones High,” he said.

“We have received sponsorship from the Jamaica Biscuit Company, to help with our community outreach, where we recently delivered care packages to those in need [amid] COVID-19, and the youth having a mentor, even one in their community, helping them with online classes and progressing academically,” he added.

The organisation has 35 members who are tertiary-level students and graduates.

Vice-president and co-founder of Aspirar JA, Shinell Mills, who is also a communication studies student at Northern Caribbean University, explained the role of the organisation.

“We are involved in the provision of humanitarian services to teenagers in high schools, and we also cater to children’s homes and primary school students, especially those who are most vulnerable to abuse… As a group, we seek to efficiently contribute to the development of the Jamaican society. There are challenges all over our society, and in order to face the challenges, we have to go to the source, and that is what Aspirar aspires to do in everything that we do, to ensure that the risks are considerably reduced. We form partnerships with institutions to enable us to reach to our mentees,” she said.

“Many of our mentees are victims of rape… verbal and physical abuse, among other issues. We try to use our experiences to help those who are suffering. We have discovered that in order to have a progressive society, the problem should be tackled from the source, and that is basically what our organisation stands for. We want to inspire youth, we want to enable them to understand the importance of having a good education and just being inspired to push for their goals,” she said.

Aspirar JA says it intends to expand its reach to other parishes in the near future.

Individuals interested in contacting Aspirar JA are being asked to e-mail aspirarmentorshipja@gmail.com or follow @aspirarmentorshipja on Instagram.

— Kasey Williams

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