Innovative Practices 2015 on Independent Living and Political Participation

A business approach to sustainable community living

Mustard Seed Communities, a project of the Digicel Foundation Jamaica, facilitates the development of minimum assisted-living communities and provides employment for persons with disabilities by offering housing solutions and economic viability via skills training and equipment. The skills training provided in craft and furniture-making increases the employability of people with disabilities, while the provision of fishery, egg, and chicken materials increases the self-reliance of their assisted living facilities via enterprise development.

“Our goal is to build an ICT-enabled and sustainable community to support independent living for persons with special needs.”

—Samantha CHANTRELLE, CEO, Digicel Jamaica
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:A business approach to sustainable community living
Organisation:Digicel Foundation Jamaica
Country
of Implementation
Jamaica

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) is an international organization with 12 residential centres throughout Jamaica catering to some 400 abandoned children and adults with disabilities.
  • MSC employs nearly 400 local workers, including many with disabilities.
  • The Digicel Jamaica Foundation has invested $247,000 in the program to date.
The food security initiative caters to in-house food needs as well as for income generation. The goal is to become a self-sustainable facility through farming and other agricultural based projects. © Digicel Foundation Jamaica

The food security initiative caters to in-house food needs as well as for income generation. The goal is to become a self-sustainable facility through farming and other agricultural based projects.
© Digicel Foundation Jamaica

PROBLEMS TARGETED

An estimated 60 percent of Jamaica’s population with disabilities are between 18 and 65 years old, and the majority of these adults are unable to find gainful employment. Furthermore, despite the existence of a national strategy, the transition from institutional care to services that allow persons with disabilities to live within his or her own community and/or family environment is still not a reality in Jamaica.

SOLUTION & METHODOLOGY

The project focuses on the development of a minimum assisted-living community for adults with mental and physical disabilities, the sustainability of which is achieved through the development of social enterprise initiatives and the construction of a formal skills-training facility. The project is based on two pillars: housing is constructed for those living with special needs; and the self-sufficiency of these individuals is ensured through the provision of the necessary infrastructure, equipment, and training.

OUTLOOK & TRANSFERABILITY

Mustard Seed Communities has thirteen properties catering to vulnerable children and adults, some of which have sufficient land to scale-up the enterprise development via food security initiatives that are currently underway. Through the MSC Business Unit, increased technical assistance will be provided to ensure that a business model is created to further reduce monthly operational expenses by growing the necessary food materials to raise chickens and fish. Linkages are being created between the ICT training facility and other Special Needs Centres of Excellence in Jamaica, the Caribbean, and other territories. The strategy has proven successful and can easily be adapted and used in other educational institutions across the country.

The production and sale of unique handicrafts by the residents provides income for both the community and the individuals involved. © Digicel Foundation Jamaica

The production and sale of unique handicrafts by the residents provides income for both the community and the individuals involved.
© Digicel Foundation Jamaica

CONTACT

Ms. Judine HUNTER
Digicel Foundation Jamaica
14 Ocean Blvd, Kingston, Jamaica
876-619-5500
DigicelFoundation.LinkJamaica@digicelgroup.com
http://digiceljamaicafoundation.org/

Nominated by: Judine HUNTER, Digicel Foundation Jamaica:

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