The governnment of Jamaica

Building Community: Cacoon’s Empowerment Story

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In the picturesque community of Cacoon in Hanover, Jamaica, a remarkable transformation is underway. What was once a simple shipping container is now on its way to becoming a vibrant community center and multipurpose facility, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the community members and the support of the Social Development Commission  and The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) Foundation.

The journey began when the community of Cacoon identified the need for a dedicated community space that could serve as a hub for various activities and programs. In previous years, the community had organized multiple fundraisers and managed to purchase the shipping container at a cost of $580,000, with the funds raised and the help of benefactors from Hanover Charities, a local interest group.

Through discussions at Community Development Committee (CDC) meetings, the Community Development Officer (CDO) sought funding opportunities and identified the JPS Foundation as a possible source to aid the community in achieving its dreams for the community and vision for the container.

With a clear vision and a strong sense of purpose, the community provided all the necessary information for the proposal to the JPS Foundation. This information was then passed on to the CDO at the Social Development Commission (SDC) to aid her in writing the proposal. The CDO, recognizing the importance of the project, took the lead in spearheading the social media campaign to garner support for Cacoon’s grant application.

Through the power of community engagement and the support of friends and well-wishers near and far, Cacoon emerged victorious in the JPS Foundation’s social media competition, securing the $600,000 grant.

Originally slated as a Labour Day 2023 project, the scope of work proved to be too great to be completed in a single day. However, undeterred by the challenge, the community came together through volunteerism on subsequent workdays. Volunteers from Cacoon, the JPS Foundation, and the SDC joined forces, working tirelessly to retrofit the shipping container into a space that would soon become the heart of the community.

Today, the once-empty container stands as a symbol of community pride and achievement. It is still not completed to specifications as work is still ongoing, especially on the kitchen area that will be used to boost the CDC’s existing breakfast program for school-aged children. At its present state, it still serves as a multifunctional facility, hosting a variety of activities and programs that cater to the diverse needs of the community. From educational workshops to cultural events, the community center has become a focal point for fostering unity and driving positive change in Cacoon.

The transformation of the shipping container into a community center is more than just a physical change; it is a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives to bring about meaningful and lasting impact. Through determination, collaboration, and a shared vision for a better future, the community of Cacoon has demonstrated that anything is possible when people come together with a common purpose.

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