Positively Jamaica - Fundraising with a Difference
An estimated 5,000 attended Positively Jamaica ensuring it was truly a positive event Thousands of people from all over the UK flocked to the heart of Stratford on Saturday to pre-mark Jamaica's 45th year of Independence, which falls today.
More than 5,000 were treated to an array of entertainment and awareness on the ongoing HIV / AIDS issue that is affecting people in the Caribbean, in particular Jamaica.
The event, which was opened by Rev. David Richards, vicar of St Johnís Church, Stratford who explained why this event was taking place with a prayer led by Ken Fuller, Area Co-ordinator, London from Christian Aid.
A celebration of all things Jamaican included a music, dance and poetry showcase from Dave Mwaniki, The Mad Squad Dancers, Joel Semakula (who spoke about his recent trip to Jamaica with Unicef), Storytelling with Lorlett Hudson, Zara McFarlane, Deep Cobra, Realitie, The Hibiscus Quadrille Dancers, Sophie Morrison, Zy, Enrico, Frontier, Uncle Syds, Delroy Pinnock to name a few. MP Stephen Timms also popped into say a few words. A special Jamaican Independence Day message was presented by Angela Edwards on behalf of the Jamaican High Commissioner, His Excellency Burchell Whiteman; this was followed by the Jamaican national anthem.
One of the main attractions of the day was UK soultress Beverley Knight who came down to support this worthwhile cause by having a one-on-one interview with Ken Fuller.
She then went onto perform one of her biggest hits acapella-style "Made it Back" asking the audience to listen to the message of the song.
Positively Jamaica not only incorporated its goal of bringing the spirit and heat of Jamaica to the heart of Stratford, but it truly was a positive event all round. First Aiders reported that they did not have to respond to not one injury, which was surprising in an event of that scale; in fact the whole event past without incident.
Event sponsorship came from the Newham Go For It grants team; Grace Kennedy UK and Jamaica National Building Society.
QUOTE FROM CO-ORDINATOR OF EVENT: I am so completely delighted with how the event has turned out; it was exactly how I envisaged it to be. We were certainly blessed with the sun and the heat, which definitely added that little something extra special in making it almost feel like Jamaica. People came out in their numbers to enjoy the celebrations, soak up the positive vibes and were able to hear directly from the team at Christian Aid speaking about the HIV/AIDS situation in Jamaica. Unfortunately, due to the ban of the moving of livestock which was announced that morning, we had to remove the goats soon after they had arrived.
Positive feedback from stallholders, performers, attendees and local businesses was overwhelming. It seems the public are eager for Positively Jamaica to be an annual event - they will just have to wait and see!! Maxine Webster, co-ordinator of Positively Jamaica Donations were collected throughout the day with all proceeds raised going towards Christian Aid's work in Jamaica with JASL (Jamaica AIDS Support for Life) and the 3Cs (Children and Community for Change). The final total is yet to be confirmed. If you would like to donate, please send a cheque making it payable to Christian Aid to St Johnís Church, Stratford, The Broadway, Stratford, E15 1NG who will pass it on.
Notes to Editor:
Additional and larger scale images are available upon request (if you require these, please contact Denise on 07738 505 622 or email at Denise_Mapp@yahoo.com). Images are copyrighted.
The Caribbean has the second highest HIV-infection rate after sub-Saharan Africa. HIVrelated illness claimed an estimated 24,000 lives across the region last year and is the leading cause of death amongst 15 to 44-year-olds. There are 300,000 people living with HIV in the region. In Jamaica, 22,000 people are HIV-positive. HIV is still heavily stigmatised.
JASL works with sex workers in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston, offering them free health advice, condoms and a vital support network. Christian Aid funds 190 partners working on HIV projects in 40 countries. These partners work to educate people on how to prevent the spread of HIV; to breakdown barriers which HIV has created between people and in communities; to care for those living with HIV and for children orphaned by AIDS.