Around 50 domestic workers will benefit from small entrepreneurship grants under a partnership between the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
A check presentation ceremony for the first five recipients was held on Wednesday May 4 at the ministry’s office on North Street in downtown Kingston. Four of the recipients were on hand to receive their scholarships.
The support is intended to enable domestic workers to engage in formal business activities that can generate additional income to supplement their livelihoods and ultimately reduce their economic vulnerability.
They must also receive basic training under the Department of Labor’s Education and Entrepreneurship Grant Program (E&EGP).
Permanent Secretary Colette Roberts Risden, who presented the checks, said the grant agreement with the ILO was signed in 2020, just before the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It is indeed an achievement for us to see this initiative finally take off,” she said.
More than 45,000 domestic workers in Jamaica are engaged in informal work and they have been among the hardest hit in the various waves of the pandemic to date.
Domestic workers are among the most vulnerable groups in Jamaica when it comes to informality.
In the meantime, Roberts Risden encouraged all people who are in the informal sector to pay their contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), because “it is there for you, working for you when you are unable to to work”.
Acting social intervention program coordinator at the Department of Labor and Social Security, Sylvester Anderson, said applicants for entrepreneurship grants are assessed on the basis of economic need, perceived viability of the proposed business and long-term economic forecasts. advantages.
Grant recipient Stacy-Ann McDonald, who is engaged in graphic design, expressed her gratitude to the ministry and the ILO, calling the support “life changing”.
“We are the ones proving to others that there is hope and that you can actually rise as a woman and as a domestic worker,” she said.
“No one is ever settled where they are, and there’s always room for expansion. We’re going to take this thing internationally, where we’re setting the standard…when it comes to domestic workers who rise above,” she added.