Approximately 50 female domestic workers are to benefit from small entrepreneurship grants under a partnership between the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
A function for the presentation of cheques to the first five beneficiaries was held on Wednesday at the Ministry’s North Street office in Kingston.
Four persons were on hand to receive their grants.
The support will enable the female domestic workers to engage in formal business activities that generate additional income to supplement their livelihood and ultimately reduce their economic vulnerability.
They will also benefit from basic training through the Ministry’s Education and Entrepreneurship Grants Programme (E&EGP).
Permanent Secretary, Colette Roberts Risden, who handed over the cheques, informed that the grant agreement with the ILO was signed in 2020, just before the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It is indeed an achievement for us to see this initiative finally get off the ground,” she said.
More than 45,000 female domestic workers in Jamaica are engaged in informal work, and they have been among the hardest hit during the various waves of the pandemic, to date.
Domestic workers are among the most vulnerable groups in Jamaica as it relates to informality.
In the meantime, Mrs. Roberts Risden encouraged all persons who are in the informal sector to make their contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), as “it is there for you, working for you when you are not able to work”.
Acting Coordinator of the Social Intervention Programme at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Sylvester Anderson, told JIS News that applicants for the award of the entrepreneurship grants are assessed based on economic need, the viability of the business and the long-term economic benefit.
Grant recipient Stacy-Ann McDonald, who is engaged in graphic design, extended gratitude to the Ministry and the ILO, calling the support “life changing”.
“This is us proving to others that there is hope and you can actually rise above as a female and as a domestic worker,” she said.
“No one is ever set in where they are, and there is always room for expansion; we will be taking this thing international, where we set the standard… as it relates to domestic workers rising above,” she added.
– JIS News