Our Partners in Ethiopia: Jamaican Rastafarian Development Community Organization (J.R.D.C)
The Jamaican Rastafarian Development Community Organization (J.R.D.C) is a Shashamane Ethiopia based local Non-Governmental Charity organization (NGO) established in 1991. It has a democratically elected Board of Directors to implement its proposed projects. Being a licensed Charity and in ‘Good Standing’ with the Government’s guidelines and procedures, it is qualified and able to represent the collective interest of the Diaspora repatriate-community to the authorities on other issues whenever desired.
The need for the inauguration of such a community organization was precipitated by a change in national government and the ushering in of a period of calm and stability, following seventeen years of war, strife and instability. The first stage of this community effort was the registration of the Jamaican Rastafarian Community (JRC) in 1987 as a local community organization. This was recommended in 1986 by Rastafari leader Vernon Carrington AKA Prophet Gad Founder of the Twelve Tribes of Israel for the community to represent the collective interests of repatriates on the land grant who at the time 90% were from Jamaica.
The organization was upgraded in status and potential in the year 2000 by adding the word ” Development ” to its name and registered with NGO status as the Jamaica Rastafarian Development Community ( J.R.DC). Membership is open to all settlers, without regard to sex, age, religion or nationality. The goal of the organization is to partner with its overseas sponsors in solving some of the various developmental challenges facing the community, including education, healthcare, food security, housing, recreation, social development, social welfare.
In Ethiopia, NGO status is granted on the basis of a clearly defined project proposal, accompanied by a letter of support from an overseas partner/sponsor. In the case of the JRDC, the government-approved project is the JRDC Kindergarten & Elementary School in Shashamane and the U.S. based Shashamane Foundation is the overseas partner/sponsor on record.
With the sacrifice and hard work of JRDC Staff, voluntary labour of Board members coupled with financial, material and managerial support from the U.S. based Shashamane Foundation, spanning roughly two decades up to 2020, the organization has successfully promulgated its Kindergarten & Elementary School project. To date this project has provided over 4,000 relatively poor and needy children with a solid basic education, as well as providing steady ongoing employment to an average of 18 teachers, a Project Director, Principal, Librarian, Secretary and 6 auxiliary members of staff. All Board members of the JRDC work voluntarily. Many graduates of the JRDC school have gone on to higher institutions of learning and some are now productive members of their community as attested to in the video testimonials on our website.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Desmond Martin, Chairman
- Sydney Salmon, Vice Chairman
- Lorna Curtis, Executive Secretary
- Crystal Pitman, Internal auditor of the General Assembly
- Linda Gittens, Social Welfare Representative
- Maurice Lee
- Angela Williams
- Joan Douglas
With ongoing financial support from private goodwill grass-root supports worldwide, coupled with prudent and professional internal stewardship, a solid foundation is in place and a good track record established. Today in the year 2020, the JRDC has withstood the test of over two decades of involvement and is positioned to continue into the future.