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Mar 14, 2012

Center for Community Resource Development Open House

In celebration of women’s month, the Center for Community Resource Development, held an open house today. While it is gender inclusive, the NGO has been successful in attracting women, mostly single-mothers, to join its community-based development program. The women are training in a number of areas and some have since started their own small businesses. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at the open house today to see the showcase of talent.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

It has only been two years since the Center for Community Resource Development opened its doors, and today, they are holding their first open house. The CCRD is geared towards targeting community members develop their skills:

Sister Higinia Bol, Program Director CCRD

Higinia Bol

“We are working mainly with members of the community here, in terms of building on their assets, developing their assets; and so, today in collaborating with the Women’s Department, in celebration of Women’s Month. Majority of the people that we work with here are women; not necessarily that we are exclusive of the other gender but women are the ones who have responded. They want to build their skills.”

Shelmadine Thurton is one of those women. She makes confections for sale in hand made packaging:

Shelmadine Thurton, Member of CCRD

“This dah the rum and raisin for a dollar and fifty cents; the plain peanuts fudge for one dollar; the coconut chocolate for one dollar and fifty cents and the wangla fudge for one dollar.”

Shelmadine Thurton

Andrea Polanco

“Okay, suh if you put all ah that inna deh lee pretty box, how much it cost? Ih cost lee bit more?”

Shelmadine Thurton

“Yes, it cost lee bit more because with the box, ih wah cost like six dollars.”

Andrea Polanco

“Awrite, so how long it tek fi mek the boxes?”

Shelmadine Thurton

“Yeah, well with we, ih wah tek like wah hour or half an hour, depends on how you work pahn it.”

Fabiana Scott

The program also caters to women are who skilled in the arts, of basket and mat making:

Fabiana Scott, Member of CCRD

“What I have on display is the plate mats and glass holders and also the baskets them.”

Andrea Polanco

“Awrite, so tell us how do you go about making these products?”

Fabiana Scott

“I make it out of the straw. And what I do, I do it like. Yuh put the weave it like this and yuh go round and round till it get to this size here and sew it round and round and when you get here it have a way how it end, there. It takes a depends, like a whole day to do the whole set, once I talk a lot. Sometimes it takes another day, it depends.”

Thelma Roberts

Thelma Roberts, Member of CCRD

“These mats were made from women right here. These were made out of the sack, the rice sack. So we got the seamstress to sew around the edge with the machine and these are pieces of cloth that is left off of sewing dresses and things. And we just use the hair pin to push through and bring out.”

Andrea Polanco

“How long ih tek fi mek one ah deya?”

Thelma Roberts

“Well it depends on the time you have. One of these would take like a month because some of them are fluffier than others, but this would take like a month.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh you could mek one as big as you want, as small as you want?”

Thelma Roberts

“Yes, we could put them in front of our beds and thing, uh hmm.”

Olga Gordon

Meet Olga Gordon, she did pastry-making training with a international chef; she now has her own home-based business:

Olga Gordon, Member CCRD

“What I do, I do it from home now. I live at #5 Casuarina Street. I do cupcakes, the cakes; I do breakfast in the morning; we do pies and everything that we were taught; to be our own boss. We were trained to for that, to make our money for ourselves and let it stay in the community and everything that was started here at CCRD was a community based initiative.”

The program at the CCRD equips the women not only with skills, but teaches them to transform their craft into money-making projects:

Andrea Polanco

“So, these are incoming generating projects for these women?”

Sister Higinia Bol

“Yes. That is really what we are building for. And we are trying to find markets for them to be able to sell it so they can help support themselves and their families, yes.  It’s not a business oriented effort, it is to keep on training and inviting more people and to feel free that they can branch out on their own, once they have the adequate support that they need.”

The CCRD members also do home gardening, growing their own herbs, fruits and vegetables for personal consumption and resale. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

If you want to purchase the products made by the women of the CCRD, you can visit the center at the corner of Partridge and Ebony Streets.

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