Jabez House, a registered charity helping women transition from sex work to other employment through educational and vocational training, has received a needed boost from the Power to Make a Difference Programme (PMAD) – Republic Bank Barbados Limited’s (RBBL) Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
Many of Jabez House’s clients receive training in cosmetology and personal care. Some clients lost their source of income when the fight against COVID-19 led to the temporary closure of such businesses. Through PMAD, the Bank donated beyond its annual donation and is also launching a Food Bank Drive to further support the charity.
The charity’s founder and Director Shamelle Rice says the money will provide much needed assistance to several families hard hit by COVID-19. Rice could not definitively say whether the economic fallout of the crisis has forced women back into a life of sex work or forced others to consider it. However, she noted that the primary reason many women turn to sex work is a lack of employment opportunities.
“What may happen as a result of the pandemic, would be further challenges in securing employment. For us at Jabez House we will continue to provide avenues for self-sufficiency through continued vocational training such as nail technology, hairdressing and other income generation avenues,” she said.
When asked about the impact Jabez House is currently making, Rice noted: “Although we do not publicize it, the impact that Jabez House has had and is having on many lives and families is incredible. However, it is always heartwarming when others recognise the work we do and can contribute to the further impact, through partnering with us. Having now received support from the Bank in 2019 and 2020, I am grateful that Republic Bank has chosen to come alongside us in helping to make a difference in lives.”
Rice called for more Barbadians to support the charity by donating food, offering financial support, providing job opportunities and advancing the cause of empowering these women.
Managing Director and CEO of RBBL Anthony Clerk said the Bank was pleased to support and be an advocate for the charity.
“Jabez House is truly one of a kind in its scope and dedication to the women it helps. The opportunities that Shamelle and her team provide for their clients are life-changing. The interventions they make can positively shape future generations, and that is a cause well worth championing. At the Bank, we believe in empowering people by giving them the tools they need to better their lives. It makes sense therefore that we should partner with them and provide some of the financial support they need to continue their work,” he said.
The Bank will solicit items for the Food Bank from its staff through its Staff Volunteerism programme, which is a critical component of PMAD. Clerk said he was looking forward to staff members living the 2020 PMAD theme of Creating Alternative Futures. (PR)