A Jamaican national residing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the past 38 years has made a substantial financial contribution to the educational system in the country of her birth.
Glenor Josephs donated nearly Can$45,000 for the establishment of a basic school at Georges Valley on the outskirts of Mandeville. The new facility was launched under the Food for the Poor program to build 50 schools in Jamaica as part of the Caribbean country’s 50th independence anniversary last year.
Food for the Poor is an interdenominational Christian charity that provides basic aid and sustainable development to the needy in Jamaica and Haiti. In conjunction with Jamaica’s Early Childhood Commission, the basic schools have been set up in communities identified as having the most needs for pre-primary facilities.
“There was definitely a need at Georges Valley as the kids were going to classes in an old community centre,” said Josephs, who hails from nearby Porus. “Though I am not physically in Jamaica all the time, the country is still close to my heart and I was just ecstatic when the call came for assistance to jump in and help.”
Josephs was in Jamaica last month for the launch of the new facility.
“When I left, there was no running water and electricity as yet, but that should soon be in place so that the institution could be up and running for the eager young people,” she said. “I was humbled by the gratitude shown by the entire community to this project. In fact, one parent told me that what I have done is not for her children, but their children and future generations. I was really touched by those remarks.”
Josephs is the wife of late businessman and Jamaica College graduate, Leslie “Ameen” Josephs, who passed away in December 2007. The family patriarch ran a snow cone business in Jamaica before migrating to Canada with his family on Christmas Eve in 1975.
The family started Kisko Products two years later that acquired the Mr. Freeze brand in October 2005, making Kisko – which employs mainly Caribbean immigrants – Canada’s largest freeze pop manufacturer.
Three years ago, the family, which also includes sons Mark, Randy, Peter and Tim, launched a scholarship in Leslie “Ameen” Josephs’ name for students pursuing business studies at Jamaica College.
“We donated the first scholarship last year and we have extended it for the recipient who is now at the University of Technology,” said Josephs.
Those who give generously are rewarded, as the Josephs’ found out recently. A few weeks ago, the family-run Vaughan-based business was the recipient of $31,000 in federal funding under the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to support the company’s frozen food manufacturing operations.
“Our government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on the drivers of growth and job creation, innovation, investment, education, skills and communities,” said Vaughan Member of Parliament and Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino. “We are supporting Vaughan businesses like Kisko products that successfully develop innovative technologies and help businesses bring new ideas to the marketplace.”
The funding will assist the company in the development of its growing line of unique and innovative products.
NRC-IRAP provides a range of technical and business-oriented advisory services along with necessary financial support to qualified innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada and engages in cost-shared research and development projects with its clients.