Keith Duncan advocates for empowering marginalized groups Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Keith Duncan, co-chair of Project STAR, is urging all Jamaicans to work together to empower and uplift young people in marginalised communities to transform their lives.

“The scale of the challenges requires an “all hands-on deck” approach. We cannot leave it all up to the government, we all, as citizens and institutions in Jamaica, must contribute at an individual level to the transformation of lives for a better future,” he said.

Duncan made the appeal recently while addressing graduates at the passing out parade of the Jamaica National Service Corps Intake at the Jamaica Defence Force at Up Park Camp in Kingston.

“The overarching point that I am making is that we all must take a whole ‘a wi approach’ and have a collective vision and drive in our individual lives, in our businesses, in our workplace actions, initiatives and programmes that transform lives for a brighter future for the Jamaica land we love,” he added.

Duncan informed the graduates that the training they have received transcends being employed and fulfills a collective mandate for Jamaica that includes positive engagement, positive attitudes, and better citizenship.

“You are now among a group of Jamaicans who have been exposed to the core values of discipline, integrity, honour, courage, commitment, and loyalty.  Your exposure to this type of training would have enhanced your capacity for teamwork, problem solving and adaptability,” he said.

“You have been prepared and now have an awesome responsibility to the youth in your communities, across Jamaica to ‘transform lives for a better future’, he stated.

He urged them to harness their newfound skills and values to shape a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their nation.

“This is the transformational mindset that you should all have, it should guide your thoughts, your interactions and your actions which should have a positive impact on all that you do in transforming lives,” he said.

He lauded initiatives such as Project STAR, a collaborative endeavour between the private sector and government agencies aimed at fostering social and economic renewal in underserved areas, as examples of transformative change.

Duncan informed that Project STAR has been working closely with HEART Trust/NSTA to implement employment readiness programmes and provide access to jobs in the private sector. He said that entrepreneurial programmes are also delivered in these communities.

“We have had good results to date, and I have personally seen many lives transformed in the 18 months of the programme,” he said.

Project STAR is currently operating in neighbourhoods in east downtown, Kingston, May Pen in Clarendon, and Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland.