Amy Winehouse FoundationRenowned for her album “Back to Black,” Amy Winehouse skyrocketed to fame in the early 21st century as a British singer. Shortly afterward in 2011, Winehouse tragically died from alcohol poisoning at 27 years old. Her family created the Amy Winehouse Foundation in her memory to spread awareness about substance abuse and assist youth in need. Below are four ways the nonprofit organization helps poor communities in the U.K. and around the world.

  1. The foundation educates students about substance abuse. The nonprofit routinely gives educational talks in colleges and universities to spread awareness about substance abuse. Known as “Resilience Programmes,” these talks encourage students to make safe decisions, ask for help and better identify the signs of someone struggling with drugs and alcohol. To date, these talks have been conducted in more than 450 schools across the U.K. and have educated more than 350,000 students.
  2. The foundation houses young women in need. To help young women transition from rehabilitation centers to everyday life, the nonprofit offers housing opportunities to those in need. The foundation owns an apartment complex in London called “Amy’s Place” where “up to 16 young women” can live after leaving substance abuse treatment. This housing opportunity is important because it allows women to build a support network and help each other during difficult times. In 2019, the Amy Winehouse Foundation won the prestigious “Centre for Social Justice Award” for its impact with Amy’s Place.
  3. The foundation partners with other organizations to maximize its impact. To date, the nonprofit has partnered with the British organization Phoenix Futures to offer treatment programs to people in England, Wales and Scotland. Additionally, the foundation has partnered with another British organization called Addaction to spread awareness about prevention and treatment programs for alcohol abuse.
  4. The foundation helps poor communities in St. Lucia and Jamaica. Beyond the U.K., the nonprofit also offers programs and assistance to poor communities living in St. Lucia and Jamaica. More specifically, it funds music lessons for people struggling with addiction. These music lessons double as coping mechanisms to improve the well-being of participants. Additionally, music lessons are offered to disadvantaged youth as a way to expand their teamwork skills. The organization has helped more than 390 people in St. Lucia and Jamaica gain access to music lessons regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Overall, the Amy Winehouse Foundation has changed the lives of communities living in St. Lucia, Jamaica and the U.K. for the better. After listening to one of the foundation’s presentations, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, noted, “[I]t was exactly what we all needed to hear.”By sharing personal stories about substance abuse with others, the Amy Winehouse foundation normalizes these difficult conversations and provides people with much-needed coping strategies.

– Chloe Young
Photo: Flickr

soccer players practicing philanthropy
Soccer, or football players to most of the world, are most often recognized for their impressive work on the field. However, professional soccer players have a lot of potential for impactful good off the field. This, due to their status, influence and financial capabilities. Listed here are five soccer players (part of FIFA) who have a powerful impact on the lives of impoverished peoples. Importantly, their reach extends throughout the world. These are great examples of professional soccer players practicing philanthropy.

5 FIFA Soccer Players Practicing Philanthropy

  1. Lionel Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays forward and captains La Liga club, Barcelona and the Argentinian national team. In response to COVID-19, Messi has made a wide variety of contributions through his organization, The Leo Messi Foundation. He began his foundation in 2007. Its mission focuses on helping kids and teenagers using health, education and sports initiatives. Messi has donated €1 million, split between Hospital Clinic in Catalunya and a health center in Argentina. Additionally, he gave €200,000 to UNICEF projects in Kenya. As a result, more than 2,000 citizens gained access to clean water.
  2. Mohammed Salah is a winger for the English Premier League club, Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. Salah has donated thousands of tons of food and fresh meat to his hometown in Egypt, to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19. Also, Salah donated to the Bassioun General Hospital. Moreover, he (along with his father) gave land to establish a sewage treatment plant in his hometown. With this effort, he hopes to provide a stable source of clean water to the region. Furthermore, Salah has been selected as the first ambassador for the U.N. Instant Network Schools, which connects refugees and host countries’ students with online education opportunities.
  3. Sadio Mane is a forward for the English Premier League club, Liverpool. Mane is funding the construction of a hospital for the village of Bambali, Senegal, where he was born. He took inspiration to do so after losing his father to a stomach illness, with no hospital in the village available to help him. Considering Senegal’s inhabitants, 33% are below the poverty line and Mane’s contributions to schools, hospitals and mosques in his home village are helping improve the quality of life for individuals living there.
  4. Mesut Ozil is a German footballer who plays as a midfielder for the English Premier League club, Arsenal. It is reported that he has paid for more than 1,000 operations for children across the world, food for 100,000 refugees in Turkey and Syria and is an ambassador for the children’s charity — Rays of Sunshine, in England.
  5. Jermain Defoe is currently a striker for the Scottish Premiership club, Rangers. He created the Jermain Defoe Foundation in 2013 to support at-risk youth in his family’s hometown, Caribbean, St. Lucia. His foundation’s mission is to help kids who are vulnerable and in need in the U.K., the Caribbean Islands and Northern Island. His grandparents grew up in St. Lucia and his foundation has worked on several projects in St. Lucia. The foundation’s work includes the refurbishment of the Soufriere Primary School after a hurricane,  donation of shoes to the Daigen School and the financial backing of The Rainbow Children’s Home.

Good Work: On and Off the Pitch

In addition to their work on the football pitch, these soccer players practicing philanthropy are doing excellent work for humanitarian missions and initiatives.  The contributions of these soccer players in healthcare, education and nutrition are improving the lives of the individuals affected by their initiatives worldwide.

Hannah Bratton
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ Education in St. Lucia
Saint Lucia, a developing nation and part of a chain of islands located off the coasts of Puerto Rico and Venezuela, is known primarily in the United States for its white sand beaches, prime vacation rentals and banana exports; in fact, the country is among the wealthiest developing nations in the world.

Along with captivating scenery and booming resort and banana revenues, there are several other commendable situations in St. Lucia. One area in particular is the status of girls’ education in St. Lucia.

What’s Trending?

In St. Lucia, the current differences between female and male education are not significant. About 91.9 percent of females in St. Lucia attend primary school, and 78.4 percent of females are expected to attend secondary school.

These figures are compared to 94 percent of males attending primary school and the expectation of 80.1 percent of males attending secondary school. This gender disparity is hardly a disparity at all; in fact, it reflects St. Lucia’s immense progress as a nation that values women in their educational and career aspirations.

Gender Equality

A surprising revelation for most people is that more females than males actually complete primary school education in St. Lucia, despite the higher percentage of males that actually attend primary schooling.

It may then seem obvious that in St. Lucia more females than males will go on to attend post-secondary school education — females make up 86 percent of the student population in the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, the single community college on the island.  

Girls’ education in St. Lucia has been on the rise over the last decade with the implementation of several new programs and pushes for female education and careers.

These pushes have sparked more and more female interest in completing school, a surprising trend in a typically male-dominated world. The progress goes further in St. Lucia with Governor General Dame Pearlette’s pushes for education — these new measures will benefit all genders, such as the push for technological incorporation in schools.

A Look into the Future

What happens when females are educated? According to the Hamilton Project — an organization that presents economic strategies to the public — the higher one’s education, the greater likelihood that person has to earn more money.

Typically, education has been male-dominated, naturally pushing males into the higher earning categories. However, with the rise in female education, females are now able to compete for higher earnings. This allows for better markets, increased diversity and more prosperous societies as an entire half of St. Lucian society now has higher earning potential.  

The improved focus on girls’ education in St. Lucia is certainly a deviation from the norm compared to other developing countries and even the rest of the world. St. Lucia’s educational rates for both females and males are significantly higher than those of other developing countries — including those of Pakistan — which have been steadily on the rise over the last two decades.

A Global Model

Facts such as these display St. Lucia’s success in female empowerment. St. Lucia is among the first island nations to propel female achievement so far forward that any gender disparities essentially dissolve.

Hopefully, St. Lucia will become a trendsetter in the coming years, encouraging other island nations to empower their women.

– Alexandra Ferrigno
Photo: Google

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to St. Lucia
As of 2016, the United States has provided over $38,000 worth of foreign aid to St. Lucia through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This small Caribbean island, with a population of 170,015, has a Gross National Income of $11,370 and continues to be at risk for high crime, labor instability and a high level of substance abuse.

Through its many programs and funding ventures via USAID, the U.S. continues to better St. Lucia. However, this foreign aid does not only help the island; the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to St. Lucia as well.

Agriculture and Tourism

Most USAID funding in St. Lucia is allocated to agriculture. By investing in the country’s department of agriculture, the U.S. is aiding as well as fortifying a potential trade relationship. Within the first four months of 2018, almost 10 percent of U.S. imports from St. Lucia were food related — a number that will most likely rise as the country’s agriculture department strengthens.

Another way that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to St. Lucia is through tourism. St. Lucia’s tourism industry profits greatly from the U.S. as a majority of tourists to the island are American, who tend to buy St. Lucian products. This exchange of goods thus benefits both economies.

The more the U.S. invests in foreign aid to St. Lucia, the more return on investment it will receive. By giving USAID in order to strengthen St. Lucia’s economy, the U.S. is strengthening a trading partner. However, in order to build a secure relationship between the countries, crime and violence must also decrease.

Violence Prevention and Education

One USAID program focuses on targeting violence in a preventative way. In a partnership with St. Lucia’s Department of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, the U.S. has commenced a coding and robotics program into St. Lucia’s secondary education curriculum.

As of June 12, four students and 12 teachers have been trained in the robotics and coding curriculum; more math, physics, computer and traditional classes will be later introduced into St. Lucian secondary schools.

The new initiative creates a new and exciting way for St. Lucian students to become and remain involved in their education as they attend school. In this program, education is not just the knowledge that students gain from learning robotics and coding. The USAID and St. Lucia’s Department of Education also aim to instill a love of learning, teamwork and critical thinking skills into the students.

By introducing the robotics and coding program into secondary schools and impressing a love for learning, as well as teamwork and critical thinking skills, onto St. Lucian students, the two countries hope to decrease the overall violence in St. Lucia.

Sustainable Progress and Growth

People who think critically and are more prone to work together are far less likely to commit violent crimes than their counterparts. By teaching St. Lucian students to be not only better learners, but also better citizens is vitally necessary to the growth of St. Lucia.

With the help of this program, the country’s future adults will be more aptly prepared to participate within St. Lucia as well as the global economy. As the program continues to succeed, St. Lucia will benefit from its future leaders just as the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to St. Lucia.

– Savannah Hawley
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in St. LuciaThe island of St. Lucia has an expansive agricultural industry with a great level of diversity, both in product and practice. Though sustainable agriculture in St. Lucia is no longer the largest revenue generator in the country, the industry still employs more than 20 percent of the population.

To better the training of those in the agricultural field, in 2014 the United Nations Development Program teamed up with the SEED Foundation, a U.S.-centered college preparatory system, to create a series of training sessions for St. Lucian farmers. The training sessions covered sustainable organic farming methodology. Farmers were taught about organic pest control, natural fertilization and how to improve the ecology of their farms to prolong their fertility.

However, despite these measures to preserve the economy surrounding sustainable agriculture in St. Lucia, the industry has taken a hit. The majority of revenue in the industry comes from banana production, which declined when the European Union introduced a new import regime. The St. Lucian Ministry of Agriculture launched an Agricultural Transformation Project in 2017. A large portion of the funds for the project are being put toward a three-year Banana Rehabilitation Project. The Agricultural Transformation Project also aims to refurbish 45 farm roads and the Fond Ausso Agro-Processing Plant, which has been in a state of disrepair for nearly six years.

In addition, a large number of banana plants have been killed by black sigatoka disease. Many banana farmers lack the technology and money to protect their crops from black sigatoka. Taiwanese farmers have had success in controlling the disease, so the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund introduced the Banana Black Sigatoka Disease Prevention and Treatment Project in St. Lucia. The project includes initiatives to create a model to control black sigatoka and engineer new strains of disease-resistant banana plants.

With the introduction of these new practices and disease control methods, there is a good chance that sustainable agriculture in St. Lucia will rebound and start contributing more to the gross income of the nation again.

– Anna Sheps

Photo: Flickr

women's empowerment in st. lucia
Women’s empowerment is a quickly-growing movement around the world, especially in developing countries. St. Lucia, an Eastern Caribbean island, is one of many developing nations taking huge steps toward equality among all its residents.

Women in Equality Empowerment Program

In 2014, women’s empowerment in St. Lucia received a large financial boost when the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO presented a $26,000 check to fund the Women in Equality Empowerment Program (WEEP). The program, run by the National Skills Development Center (NSDC), aimed to make professional training and job placement more accessible to women in St. Lucia. The program ran from 2015 to 2016 and successfully trained and placed 27 students into new jobs.

National Skills Development Center

The NSDC has continued to make strides in women’s empowerment in St. Lucia. Currently, the NSDC runs the Construction for Women Project, the goal of which is to train women for work in the construction field and to desensitize the St. Lucian society to the idea of women working in non-traditional fields.

Sacred Sports Foundation

Empowering young women is the focus of the Sacred Sports Foundation (SSF), a foundation that focuses on helping girls and women lead healthy lifestyles and socialize with each other. In 2012, the SSF asked that the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA) assist them in training SSF employees for a new program focused on teaching girls aged 13 to 17 about health and life skills. The program promoted social inclusion, health education, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and mentoring in leadership.

Raise Your Voice St. Lucia

Possibly the most important organization pushing for women’s empowerment in St. Lucia is Raise Your Voice St. Lucia (RYVSLU). The organization’s goal is to teach women and children about their legal rights and provide support to those suffering through domestic violence, rape and other human rights violations.

In November and December 2017, RYVSLU ran the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence program in which panels, community meetings, and public marches were arranged to educate and empower women. The program was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and pushed for an end to violence against women.

These efforts are changing the current dialogue of women’s empowerment in St. Lucia, and hopefully serve as positive omens for the island nation’s future.

– Anna Sheps

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to st. lucia
The European Union (EU) currently stands as the largest supporter of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia. In 1979, the same year as St. Lucia’s independence, a formal relationship between the two entities was established. The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme articulates the programming framework that will facilitate St. Lucia-EU co-operation from 2014 to 2020. The EDF’s involvement with St. Lucia focuses on employment generation via private sector development.

The EU’s Humanitarian Aid Department, ECHO, was present when St. Lucia needed aid most. After Hurricane Tomas in 2010, ECHO responded with emergency and post-emergency aid to assist with restoring the island. In July 2011, the U.S. stepped in and St. Lucia received $17 million from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to build it’s natural climate resilience to gain inclusion from the Caribbean Regional Program. Vulnerable, under-developed countries are normally given top priority by the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund, and this trend has come to include this small island of St. Lucia.

In January 2014 after a Christmas Eve storm, Britain gave St. Lucia 1 million Eastern Caribbean dollars for vital emergency humanitarian aid support to help with mass amounts of fatalities and wreckage. In March, India donated $500,000 of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia to help with the damage left behind from the Christmas Eve rains. These efforts totaled about $100 million dollars — a significant amount of aid for the recovering island nation.

Later that year, St. Lucia was one of the 10 Eastern Caribbean islands to receive a portion of the €80 million in development co-operation aid. In 2016, the main focus of the EU in St. Lucia was the construction of a new hospital, for which they contributed €37 million.

The goal of EU co-operation is to enhance the quality of life of the people in the beneficiary countries through “targeted and sustainable programmes.” St. Lucia is one of the fortunate countries to be a part of the EU agenda and to really benefit from their efforts. Humanitarian aid to St. Lucia may not be given by many, but it’s at least consistent by one.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in St. LuciaA Brief History:
A refugee is often defined as a person seeking asylum in a country other than the one of their origin, either because they seek better economic prospects or due to political instability in their home nation.

The country of St Lucia is a Caribbean nation, which is home to numerous refugees. St Lucia has a gorgeous landscape, tropical weather and an incredible culture. These facts are one of the reasons why St Lucia has become a primary destination for many migrants. The purpose of this article is to explain 10 facts about refugees from St Lucia.

The 10 Facts:

  1. In 2014, St Lucia was home to over 922 refugees from countries all around the world. Migrants come to St Lucia because of its generous social welfare programs, stable political system and booming economy.
  2. The refugee camps in St Lucia have done significant work in increasing the immunization rate for many of the migrants living in the nation. The immunization rate for DPT and measles is 99 percent and 97 percent respectively.
  3. Having a child while in a St Lucia refugee camp is not a risky proposition for many migrants living in the nation. The lifetime risk of maternal death is .0912 percent for the refugees living in St Lucia. This statistic is due to 96.9 percent of pregnant female refugees receiving prenatal care.
  4. Although having a child while a refugee in St Lucia may not be risky, many women in these migrant camps are having children at a very young age. Around 53.42 out of every 1,000 female refugees under the age of 19 have had a child.
  5. About 92.2 percent of children born to refugees in St Lucia are registered at birth. This high rate of registration allows the camps to ensure these children get the proper care to maintain their health.
  6. Due to the large quantity of refugees’ children registered here, the children born in these regions are treated very well. Only 2.5 percent of children growing up in these refugee camps suffer from malnutrition. This low rate is due to the incredible social programs available for these migrants at the camps in St Lucia.
  7. The likelihood of a refugee in St Lucia being overweight is very small. Currently, the rate of being overweight as a migrant rests at 6.3 percent. Having a healthy body weight reduces the chance of prolonged illness and other diseases.
  8. The life expectancy for refugees in St Lucia is also very high. Men, on average, live until they are 72.54 years old and women are expected to live until they are 77.96 years old.
  9. Men who are refugees in St Lucia have a very high chance of living until the age of 65. Currently, this rate rests at 74.23 percent.
  10. The majority of the population of refugees in St Lucia tends to be young. Currently, only nine percent of these migrants are over the age of 65.

The Takeaway:
Although the migrant crisis continues all throughout the world, refugees in St Lucia often have a high quality of life. High immunization rates, intensive social programs and registration at birth allows for the nation to ensure its migrant populations have the best chance at a higher quality of life. The work that St Lucia has done in its refugee camps should be something all other nations housing migrants should attempt to emulate.

Nick Beauchamp
Photo: Flickr

Education in St. Lucia, a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean, seeks to prepare students for exciting futures in higher education and the workforce. Educators at 75 primary schools and 24 secondary schools have worked for decades to mobilize their youth to succeed.

In response to poor performance by students in grades one to five on a Minimum Standards Test in 1998, the nation enacted the Education Act of 1999. Supported by parliament members, teachers, and students alike, the act clearly outlines students’ rights and actively contributes to curriculum development.

Furthermore, the Education Act of 1999 rests on the idea that citizens ought to pursue higher education in order to serve the community. As a result—and although students over 16 years old may opt-out of attending school under the act—upper secondary institutions boast a 97.2 percent enrollment rate.

In addition to the cultural push for students to attend school as a civic responsibility, perhaps the numerous opportunities for tertiary education compel students to further their studies. The University of the West Indies, which offers online degree programs, frequently awards Rhodes scholarships to residents of St. Lucia and other members of the Commonwealth Caribbean. St. Joseph’s Convent, an all-female secondary school in St. Lucia, also offers scholarships to those with creative skills and potential as leaders.

Sixteen-year-old Kurmysha Harris perfectly exemplifies the standards of education in St. Lucia. A fifth-form student at the St. Joseph’s Convent, she became St. Lucia’s youngest published author when she published her first novel, The Lost Sister, in September 2016.

Harris, who has been writing for most of her life, cites her uncle and parents as major contributors to her book. Sister Rufina, the principal at St. Joseph’s Convent, also reached out upon the book’s release to show support on behalf of the school at large. With such an enthusiastic fan base, Harris has sold more than 600 copies of her novel and has started working on another.

Opportunities for teens like Harris continue to open up far and wide in the country. With governmental attention and widespread support from adults, education in St. Lucia has the nation’s youth bound for success.

Madeline Forwerck

Photo: Flickr