Jah Works, Inc. is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization working to create more sustainable communities through better access to clean water, healthy food, relevant education and equitable job opportunities.
Our core beliefs are that every human has the right 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.
Our 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 visit, especially those that are indigenous, rather than incorporating our own culture into it.
In other words, and like the backpacking adage: “Tread lightly and pack out what you pack in”!
Our founders created Jah Works, Inc. in 2016, after forming friendships with the people of Bluefields, Jamaica for over a decade, and learning of the needs within the community.
Co-Founders and Executive Directors
Brandon Ward, Megan Smoot and T.J. Smoot (l-r)
They strive to work closely with community development partners to understand the true needs of the community and to coordinate projects and fundraising to assist in meeting those needs.
Community Development Partners
Wolde Kristos is a founding member of the Bluefields Bay Friendly Fisherman’s Society and the Bluefields People’s Community Association, both located in the heart of Bluefields, on the southern coast of Jamaica. These organizations are focused on the sustainable growth of the community, with goals to provide opportunities for education, jobs, and food for all who live there.
How did the name came about? In early 2016, before we formed as an organization, we were enjoying a few adult beverages on local Belmont 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.
Our friend, King Love, said (in patois), “Yuh know what yuh fi call it, mon? Yuh fi call it, ‘Jah Works’, mon, because yuh doin’ ‘is work am BLESS UP the people of Bluefields with wata!” (translation: “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!”)
We glanced at each other, grinned, and as soon as we got home, filed the paperwork to incorporate.
What is one of Jah Works’ most meaningful experiences? There are so many, but one that made us realize that this was such important work, was the first time we visited Savanna-la-mar, Jamaica in 2009. Our planned project was to paint a church. 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 the home of a blind man.
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.
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.
Our supporters, donors, volunteers and partners have completed multiple impactful projects in and around the rural community of Bluefields, Jamaica, such as installing rainwater catchment systems, rebuilding homes, supporting education at all levels, and creating jobs by hosting small groups of travelers to Bluefields for a culturally immersive experience, along with an opportunity to give back.
Ready to partner with us? Learn more here.