Nassau, Bahamas - Seven women of the Delancy Street After School Outreach
Centre are on their way to learning a skill and becoming empowered - thanks to
the generosity of the Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise.
The club recently made presentations of beauty supplies to
the women who are enrolled in the 15-week natural hair styling program at The
Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI). Recipients received roller bags stuffed with
supplies including, but not limited to styling capes and lab jackets to blow
dryers and comb sets.
For the women, the opportunity comes at a time when there is
a natural hair movement globally.
Therefore, as six out of seven of them are unemployed, they are learning
a skill that is a potential money-generator.
Shanell Stuart, who has been unemployed since May 2015, said
she was unsure how she would have paid for the supplies.
“I have a passion for hair and am so excited. This is an
early birthday gift,” she exclaimed, “even my children are excited.”
The 31-year-old added that at the end of the 15-week program,
she intends to give back to the community by teaching people the skills she has
Lasiet Wilson also expressed her enthusiasm for the
opportunity, but not without expressing gratitude to the club.
“This is the biggest gift ever. You don’t have people who
volunteer themselves to help anymore.
This is my blessing and I will in turn bless others,” said the mother of
President of the Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise, Alanna
McCartney, said the assistance rendered was a stepping stone to propel the club
from success to significance.
“In our small way, we have become a gift to these
ladies. It’s significantly impactful, so
in doing this we’re setting them up for success. Now, it’s up to them to deliver,” said Ms.
Additionally, BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund
Development, Alicia Thompson, thanked Rotary for its investment.
BTVI natural hair styling students, Jacenell Duncombe and Blaire Skippings express excitement as they comb through supplies donated by the Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise.
“We have many bright, deserving individuals who attend BTVI,
so we are grateful for partnerships such as this, where you give
selflessly. This is a ray of hope, not
only for the seven ladies, but seven families.
Thank you Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise for being the sunrise in the
lives of these ladies,” said Ms. Thompson.
Additionally, with January being Rotary International’s
Vocational Services Month, the club’s guest speaker was BTVI’s Dean of
Construction and Workforce, Alexander Darville, who spoke to the importance of
vocational education and training to the workforce.
Mr. Darville acknowledged how unfortunate it is that technical
education has been treated as a side bar by many during the educational
“There is a stigma attached to technical education. That
mindset has to change if technical education is going to be elevated, receiving
the respect it deserves…it should not be an afterthought,” he said.
Mr. Darville noted that it is career and technical education
that is a catalyst for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
education. Hence, one should not consider it as a last resort for those who
have failed academically.
“Truth be told, technical education does require a lot of
hands-on experience, but theory is fundamental.
It is quite challenging. I dare say rigorous at times. Globally, the
walls of technical and academic education must be demolished and a bridge built
between the two,” he emphasized.
Furthermore, Mr. Darville expressed his pleasure at the fact
that the Ministry of Education recently recognized outstanding exam
performances in career and technical education during its national awards
“It is certainly an indication that the government sees the
need to recognize those making strides in technical education from the junior to
high school level. The tide is changing, and doing so from the top tier of
society,” he noted.