Our Partners Lead the Way in Community Sustainability, Pt. 2

Click here to read Part I.

Over the next few weeks, we’re highlighting those who have had a large part in what Jah Works looks like today. To continue building on our community-led approach within our focus area of “Relevant Education”, we needed to connect with a Jamaican educator! Enter Ms. Joy Baker, Principal of the Bluefields Basic School. (Click here to read more about basic schools and other education in Jamaica)

We met Joy in 2012 on our second trip to rural Bluefields, Jamaica. Our team was renovating a home for a single mother and her children, and Joy was at the site too, working alongside us for days. And, for as long as we’ve known her, she has been dedicated to providing a quality education for the youngest members of the community.

Before the Basic School was moved to it’s current location in 2013, it was made up of a few small, wooden buildings in a yard with a swingset. Although compact, Joy made certain the classrooms had learning materials in every corner and on every wall, to create an environment for a solid early childhood education.

Because of Joy’s leadership, and with the partnerships of many within and outside of Bluefields, the new school building (c. 2013) is much larger, has indoor plumbing and toilet facilities, and 2500 gallons of clean water from a rainwater catchment installation.

Joy Baker and Russ Jackson (RainHarvest Systems of Atlanta, GA) give children at the Bluefields Basic School their first taste of clean, potable water from the rainwater catchment/UV filtration system.

The school building will serve the children of Bluefields well in many years to come, but it’s really about the passion of the educators who make the difference. To this end, Joy has made sure there are STILL learning materials spread throughout every square foot of this new building too!

We asked Joy what people should know about her; her words are below, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thank you, Joy, for your continued partnership, and for helping make the Bluefields community, and Jah Works, what it is today!

I love children and believe that each child deserves the best in spite of his or her circumstances. I am very happy when others achieve or succeed, and believe that all persons should be respected in spite of their skin colour, educational status or where they live. Let us all dare to care. Love.

Ms. Joy Baker, principal of Bluefields Basic school – Westmoreland, Jamaica

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