Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GraceKennedy (GK) Group will resume its Birthright Programme in 2022.
Under the internship programme, this summer GK will accommodate four university students of Jamaican descent from the USA, UK and Canada for a five-week professional and cultural immersion experience.
Jada Allison, fourth-year student, Wellesley College, USA; Chardonnae Deslandes, fourth-year student, Harvard University, USA; Debbie Buck, third-year student, University of Winnipeg, Canada; and Olivia Hylton-Pennant, a graduate of Cambridge University, UK, will join the GK family in Jamaica for the experience from June 1 to August 8, 2022.
Caroline Mahfood, Chief Executive Officer of the GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) which implements the programme on behalf of the GK Group, explained, “GraceKennedy is very excited to be welcoming this year’s Birthright participants. The programme aims to foster a stronger connection between Jamaica and the diaspora and empower these young people to think differently about their heritage. This is also the year of our 100th anniversary and so we hope it will be extra special for all involved. The story of our Company is so closely intertwined with the story of Jamaicans living here and abroad, and we look forward to exploring it with this year’s participants and helping them discover Jamaica.”
The Birthright internship programme is a collaborative effort between GK and public-private entities, that have a vested interest in nation-building. The internship exposes participants to various facets of Jamaica’s culture. Participants work at a GK subsidiary linked to their career interests on weekdays and tour different parts of the island on weekends.
This year’s cohort includes two students who were deferred from the 2020 Birthright programme after their internship had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
“We are always grateful for the support we receive for Birthright from other companies, and thank those who have already come on board, including Caribbean Airlines, Go! Jamaica Travel, Island Car Rentals and the Bob Marley Museum. These partnerships will ensure that the participants have a well-rounded Jamaican experience,” added Mahfood.