Jah Works, Inc. is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization that works to create sustainable communities by establishing access to clean water, healthy food, relevant education and equitable job opportunities.
To date, our team has completed multiple projects in partnership with the rural community of Bluefields, Jamaica, such as installing rainwater catchment systems, rebuilding homes, and providing scholarships for those seeking higher learning. Secondarily, we also create jobs in the tourism sector by regularly hosting small groups of travelers to the area to provide them an immersive experience, along with an opportunity to give back to the community. We also work within our hometown community of the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina to give back where we live.
How did the name came about? In early 2016, before we formed as an organization, the founders and community partners were enjoying a few adult beverages on the local beach in Jamaica after a day of rainwater catchment installation work. A few weeks earlier we’d kicked around a few names, and “Jah Works” was one of them – although we hadn’t made a final decision and hadn’t mentioned it to anyone.
Sitting there on the beach, the conversation turned to the work we were doing, and that we needed a name since we were seeking to become a stand-alone organization. One of our community partners, King, said (in patois), “Yuh know what yuh fi call it, mon? Yuh fi deh call it, ‘Jah Works’, mon, because yuh duh His work am bless up the people of Bluefields with wata!” (in English: “You know what you should call it? Jah Works, because you are doing His work to bless the people of Bluefields with the gift of water!”) The founders glanced at each other, grinned, and filed the paperwork to incorporate with that name once back on U.S. soil.
Why are you so passionate about this? Our core beliefs are that every human has the right to have access to food, water and shelter. We also believe that to create sustainable communities, the proper development is necessary where education must be available, and jobs must be created.
The founders love to travel and experience different cultures throughout the world, and believe that we all have the responsibility to help preserve the cultures we are visiting, especially those that are indigenous, instead of trying to incorporate our own culture into it. In other words, and like the backpacking adage: “Tread lightly and pack out what you pack in”!
What is one of Jah Works’ most meaningful experiences? There are so many, but the one that made us realize that this was important work, was the first time we visited Savanna-la-mar, Jamaica in 2009. Our planned projects were to work with kids and paint a church building. We wrapped up that work earlier than expected and our host took a small group of us on a walk through the Little London community, where we came upon a home where a blind man lived.
As he came out to greet us, we saw that his wooden door was mostly rotten, attached only on one hinge, and “locked” by turning a small piece of wood to hold the door closed. You could tell it was a struggle for him to open and close his door, so our team decided on the spot that we would install a new door. Long story short, when we handed him the keys and as his face lit up as he touched his new door to “see” it, that’s when we realized what a big difference we could make in people’s lives, through simple actions such as “just” installing a door.
How can I get involved? There are many ways; check out our Give Back page for how you can be a part of the Jah Works community. If you are interested in group or solo travel, please contact us here. Also, follow us on your favorite social media (links in the footer!) to keep up with all the latest news. Last, but not least, if you’ve read this far, you’ll likely be interested in our monthly-ish newsletter, “The Digest”; sign up here.