Fourteen women from Kingston’s Rose Town community are now better able to navigate today’s knowledge-based and digital society following the successful completion of the iRose in Tech programme administered by the youth empowerment organization, Youth Can Do I.T (YCDIT).
The programme, which commenced in June of this year, was aimed at exposing women to the vast range of opportunities available in the technology sector and empowering attendees to identify and own their innate talents and strengths.
The initiative formed part of a $7-million community-wide information and communication technology (ICT) intervention funded by the Sandals Foundation and Coca Cola and executed in partnership with the Rose Town Foundation.
Through the provision of computer desks, 15 new computers, broadband and wireless internet connection and a smart television, community members have been able to use the facility to develop and sharpen their skills in using the technology. The newly established computer room also hosts a homework programme which serves 40 children daily.
Speaking at the iRose in Tech graduation ceremony held recently, Public Relations Manager at the Sandals Foundation, Patrice Gilpin commended the ladies for staying the course and positioning themselves to actively use technology in their personal and professional development.
“In today’s information age, technology touches every aspect of our lives. It is important for women to understand the power they have and how they can use technology as a tool towards achieving their goals,” Gilpin noted.
The iRose in Tech programme covered the areas of website development, content creation, resume writing and personal development.
Founder and Managing Director of YCDI, Lianne McNaughton said a major success was seen in the improved confidence and personal growth of participants.
“I can honestly say that every lady who made it to the end was positively changed by the programme. Whether it was in their improved confidence or their perseverance in pushing through challenging situations, the ladies have grown to develop positive self-perception, clarity on their individual strengths as well as direction in how they can use those strengths to achieve their goals,” she explained.
Ruth Jankee, Executive Director of the Rose Town Foundation said the programme was instrumental in, “inspiring the women to take advantage of the many available opportunities that are often overlooked due to a lack of confidence in their abilities or the inability to see how they could benefit from the initiatives.”
Kimone Massey, 21, noted that the programme has helped her put key things in perspective. “I learned a lot of things about myself, my goals and what I really want to do in life for me and my family” – and for 17-year-old Latavia Robinson, she was able to find her voice, “During my time here I was not able to speak out loud and project but days after I learned that all I had to do was have confidence in myself”.
Seventeen-year-old Facey-Ann Smith shared that for her, the programme has inspired her, “to help others understand the importance of technology and how to use it.”
The iRose in Tech programme forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA) initiative which focuses in part on educating and training teenage girls and women in professional and entrepreneurial skills development.
Since its establishment in 2009, the Sandals Foundation has supported several initiatives across the Caribbean aimed at creating employment opportunities for women.
Programmes such as the iRose in Tech are directly aligned to achieving Goal 5 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Plan which calls for, among other things, the economic empowerment of all women.