A business approach to sustainable community living
- Digicel Foundation Jamaica
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- First published
“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
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, Innovation and Impact
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.
Funding, Outlook and 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.