Over 110 young people from the communities of Parade Gardens, Denham Town and Trench Town in Kingston Jamaica are participating in a new Fighting Words book club, coordinated by Fight for Peace under the UP Unity & Peace Collective, and funded by the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ).
We checked in with one of the parents of a young person attending the book club, and they shared how their son has been getting on since becoming part of the group:
“Since we’ve moved from another parish this is one of the few things he has enjoyed. He doesn’t like school a lot; but he likes the book club, and the teacher.”
Yonique Campbell, who coordinates all UP Unity & Peace activities in Denham Town, also believes in the power of the book club, explaining it as instrumental in opening the minds of participants about possibilities and opportunities that exist beyond their community, encouraging members to pursue taking action on national issues.
For example, a book on recycling was donated by Do Good Jamaica, and inspired the Denham Town readers to launch a recycling project and competition in their community. Through partnership with Do Good Jamaica, the recycling competition is set to take place during July this year.
Book club activities also include field trips and author visits, with both activities aiming to increase participants’ exposure and provide them with the opportunity to learn more about the places described in books they have read, while interacting with people in various roles and positions in the book industry; including authors, illustrators and publishers.
Following a visit from author and illustrator, Richard Nattoo, an 11 year old participant from Trench Town engaged in a Q&A as part of Richard’s visit, and asked if he could write a part two to his story and share it with the author for him to review.
This is just one example of how the power of young people having the opportunity to both read and discuss what they learn, can trickle down into actions which can further help support young people in realising their potential.
By providing consistent access to education support and resilience-building activities, Fighting Words was initiated to improve the educational outcomes for young people in the communities in which UP Unity & Peace operates.
UP Unity & Peace is a Collective coordinated by Fight for Peace which brings together NGOs, sports federations and state partners to jointly deliver programmes to young people in communities in Jamiaca at high risk of violence.