As part of the Data Security Luncheon, we are pleased to honor Jamaican Self-Help and Cathie Morrissey for their 35 years of service and contribution to schools in Jamaica.
Jamaican Self-Help Story
Jamaican Self-Help is a Canadian non-profit foundation that started 25 years ago by teachers in Port Hope, Ontario.
In 1978 John and Rosemary Ganley were teaching in Kingston Jamaica, and couldn’t help but see the extreme poverty of people who were living in ghettos scattered near the shore of the sea in Kingston. They were influenced by a young charismatic priest who was just founding a group to work on poverty and injustice. His group was called Brothers of the Poor.
Father Richard Ho Lung was a poet, songwriter, and creative genius who poured himself into the work. He also had a fun-loving side. On Ganleys return to Jamaica, they formed a “kitchen-table” group to help Richard’s cause. In return, he brought young musicians to Toronto and Peterborough, and people fell in love with their “rocking” yet sensitive spiritual music.
JSH was incorporated in 1980, and the Canadian govt. supported its work beginning in 1995, allowing the volunteers to seek an office and a manager. Up until then, JSH was held together by John, Rosemary, and passionate volunteers. When the Canadian govt decided to focus on bilateral aid, it disbanded its International Development branch, which meant that charities could no longer access funding from that source. Although JSH was a successful fund-raising organization, it could not afford to keep paid staff. So in 2016, the Board voted to carry on with a reduced project load in Jamaica, (two primary schools, and a trade training centre). Cathie Morrissey then guided the organization for the next six years. There were ad hoc committees for specific fund-raising events, an Operations Cte., a Projects in Jamaica cte., Communications, Finance, and Planning. It was a huge job, which Cathie took on both calmly and willingly.
Tributes and many thanks to Cathie for her outstanding work for youth in Jamaica.