What we do:

We work in places where life is not simple. Trench Town (the main community we work in) has around 64% unemployment, over 86% of children are born outside of marriage, and per capita it was in the top 5 for highest murder rates in the world for many years. (I say “was” because the murder rate has dropped considerably in recent years). Communities like Trench Town develop a negative cycle that affects the lives of children and young people who grow up there for successive generations.

Starting in Trench Town in 1999, we have developed an approach to working with children and young people in this kind of cycle. Our work is not just about giving charity to children surrounded by poverty, neglect and violence, it is about shifting the cycle itself, so that the children are more empowered to take positive steps both for themselves and to impact their community.

We use a number of programmes to achieve this, which work together to produce a long-term process of positive growth in young people and their communities. There are four main elements to this process, which are:

Regular Celebrations draw the community together, while Service Projects help in practical ways. In both, children are the ones who make them happen and offer a gift to the life of their community.
A place to belong and opportunities to grow are so important for children and young people. “Mango Tree Clubs” are the main way we provide these; club members engage in creative arts, sport and various activities.
Through trips, young people see different environments and gain new experiences. They experience interactions with people from other communities and healthy role-modelling as they work with leaders on challenging activities.
We equip leaders because our work relies on them. Many of them grew up attending a club, and are now giving back. In communities that have strong negative stigmas attached, their presence is counter-cultural and vital.