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 learned.
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 five.
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. McCartney.
Additionally, BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson, thanked Rotary for its investment.
“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 debate.
“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 ceremony.
“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.
The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI)
Top: Seven women of the Delancy Street After School Outreach Centre are on their way to learning the intricacies of natural hair styling, thanks to the generous donation of beauty supplies by the Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise. Shown from left to right are: club president, Alanna McCartney; recipients Lasiet Wilson, Anastacia Bain, Shanell Stuart, Jacenell Duncombe, Blaire Skippings, Trenice Bell; BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson; Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise Fundraising Chair, Frances Dean and Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise Vocational Chair, Tanya Woodside. Missing is recipient Tamara Magloire
Side: 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.