Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, speaking to the media following the 10th anniversary celebrations of Jabez House on Sunday. (GP)

The Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs is gearing up to actively fulfil a pledge made to support a unique and crucial non-profit agency in its quest to improve lives.

This from Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey who was delivering the feature address, Sunday, at the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Jabez House – a registered charity which seeks to guide sex workers into other avenues of developing income, whether as hair dressers, nail technicians or other potential professions, as a less risky means of economic empowerment. The event took place at the Barbados Museum’s Walled Garden Theatre.

Minister Humphrey in lauding the National Commission for HIV/AIDS in working with Jabez House, shared the statistics of turning around sex workers towards different paths of enfranchisement.

He stated: “Forty-eight per cent completely transitioned from sex work …. Sixty-five per cent employment rate for those completely transitioned from sex work and this kind of data is phenomenal, it is a key indicator of the kind of headwork that went into it.”

Founder of Jabez House, Shamelle Rice, gave an emotional speech, just on the heels of a tragic situation where a sex worker was killed not far from the Museum less than 48 hours prior. In a decade of service to the country, the audience learned how Mrs. Rice knew what she wanted to do from the age of 14.

She observed that it was not always an unhappy ending for those who may have started out differently. “Earlier this week, I was invited by a former client to her wedding, she shared the proposal video with me. I was so happy she could find someone who could love her for who she is despite what her past may have been,” said Mrs. Rice.

Also celebrating the Anniversary was Isiuwa Iyahen, the Caribbean representative for UN Women, who shared some of the findings from a CARICOM survey done on gender violence based on findings from five territories – Suriname, Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Guyana. 

Noting that there was a common thread, Ms Iyahen stated: “One in three would experience violence against women in their lifetime, which is similar to the global average, But the main thread of these five countries, is that women who saw violence against women or experienced it in childhood, such as seeing their mother beaten, would enter into a violent relationship in adulthood.”

The celebration ended on a high note with Minister Humphrey recalling that a pledge was made to Jabez House.  “People recognise hard work. The Ministry recognises your hard work – the Ministry made a commitment to you, I am told it wasn’t honoured, I intend to honour it. I told the Deputy Permanent Secretary, we must finance the work of Jabez House, I therefore expect to be meeting next week, to see how best we can help her continue her wonderful work.”

To date, Jabez House has had 560 cases passing through its doors. Its founder Shamelle Rice has also written a book “How To Start a Non-Profit on Zero Dollars.” During the event, Mr. Teddy Leon and founder, Mrs. Rice unveiled a new logo for the Non-Profit agency.

Performing at the event were Alison Norville, John Yarde Shameka Walters and Adrian Green.

Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs

View the most recent Travel Protocols by

COVID-19 Info

Click Here

COVID-19 Protocols

Click Here

Pin It on Pinterest