Supporting and investing in education for children during the early years is one of the smartest things any country can do to eradicate extreme poverty, promote shared prosperity, while creating the human capital needed to diversify and grow economies.
Research has shown that early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development; affecting learning, health, behavior and of course income. One such research was conducted by Gertler & Heckman in 2014. “A 20-year study of children in Jamaica by Nobel laureate James Heckman, showed that early stimulation interventions for infants and toddlers increased their future earnings by 25 percent which is equivalent to adults who grew up in wealthier households.”
There are many of us in developed countries who understand the benefits of this investment. Yet, in many underdeveloped and developing countries around the world, millions of young children are not realizing their full potential due to inadequate nutrition, lack of early stimulation, learning, nurturing care, and the constant exposure to stress adversely affecting their development.
According to the World Bank, in low and middle income countries over 250 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of not fulfilling their developmental potential.
One such country that continues to face challenges in ‘Early Childhood Education’ is Jamaica. The plight of ‘Early Childhood Education’ and the resources needed to make it effective is often overlooked by many, as the familiar images of Jamaica being a tourist destination with warm sunshine, friendly people, beautiful beaches, the birthplace of reggae music and having NO PROBLEMS are far more prevalent. Although all of those aspects are things I love about my country, the reality is Early childhood education is not funded by the government and in many rural towns, hundreds of Pre-K and elementary schools are plagued by lack of basic school supplies and facilities that would seem standard in the United States.
Early childhood education is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Too often the far-reaching effects of poverty makes this a luxury. To provide a solution to the problem that is facing the Island of Jamaica, I have founded the RKM Foundation Inc. in an effort to raise awareness for the issue and to promote change through imaginative play by focusing on children ages 4-10 years. I have seen first hand the effects of poverty on school attendance rate and a child’s ability to learn. I have also seen the benefits an investment in early childhood education can make. My sibling and I are products of that invest among numerous others. However, there are many others who were and still are unable to benefit due to lack of basic resources.
In an effort to be a part of the solution, the RKM Foundation Inc. partners with local schools and libraries in rural Jamaica to do an annual distribution, we provide; school supplies and age appropriate games to the schools along with toys and books for each student. We create reading, interactive and developmental initiatives with Pre-K and Elementary schools to promote concepts that are vital to cognitive development and exposure while expanding the students overall outlook.
Since our inception in 2012 we have impacted over 10,000 children in over 50 schools and 10 libraries. Our aim is to continue to impact the lives of children in Jamaica through promoting the benefits of early childhood education. The Goal of the organization is to be the platform for changing the way the Jamaican government views early childhood education. To find out more about who we are and how you can help us to continue to make an impact visit our website at: http://www.therkmfoundation.org/donations.html
|New Hope Primary - Westmoreland Jamaica|
|Chevely Basic School- Manchester, Jamaica|
|Nightingale Primary School, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica|