Tue | Jan 31, 2023

Abilities Foundation, Canadian HC partner on project for female farmers

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 12:08 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Reporter
Members of the group pause for a quick picture.
Members of the group pause for a quick picture.
Some of the participants in the skills training programme for disabled women, prepare a plot for farming.
Some of the participants in the skills training programme for disabled women, prepare a plot for farming.
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Twenty-five women living with disabilities are gaining access to sustainable farming methods, financial literacy training, and will be familiarised with the Disabilities Act, which went into effect on February 14, through the partnership and support of the Abilities Foundation and the roughly $3.2-million grant donated by the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica.

Tameka Hector Boyd, project manager, told The Gleaner on Sunday that the project began in July, with the farming component being undertaken in August.

“The aim is really to empower females with disabilities by teaching them nontraditional skills, particularly backyard farming. Also, helping them with food security,” she said.

She reported that so far, the participants, who range in age from 19 to 61 years, are thrilled to gain the opportunity to be trained and put the skills learnt to use.

“The project has been going very well...the ladies are very interested. They come twice per week to the Abilities Foundation and we teach them sustainable farming techniques - so [this includes] backyard farming, traditional farming in containers and hydroponic farming,” she told The Gleaner.

FINANCIAL LITERACY COMPONENT

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has been observing Disabilities Awareness Week 2022 from December 3 to 9 under the theme ‘Embracing the Disabilities Act Towards Inclusion’.

The women will be looking to sell the produce reaped on December 16 at a Christmas Farmers’ Market to be hosted at the foundation’s offices, located at 191 Constant Spring Road.

The programme’s financial literacy component was included to support the women who are interested in using their training to launch their own enterprises and reap financial rewards.

“Financial literacy is usually not something that is a part of our educational system, especially for persons who are disabled, so we just wanted to be able to empower them even more with this type of knowledge; and also let them know what is available to them, such as JCPD grant funding,” she said.

The programme is scheduled to end in February 2023 with a closing-out ceremony.

Hector Boyd expressed that through this intervention, the foundation has been able to partner with Tutors International, who will provide eight participants with their own backyard farms.

“We will actually go into their communities and their homes and set up a backyard farm for them,” she said.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com