In December 2017, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 46 (“IUPAT DC 46”) Business Representative Ivan Dawns was informed about the need for an Infant School to be built in Wakefield, Jamaica. Brother Dawns proposed the initiative to the delegates of the IUPAT DC 46, and funding for it was unanimously approved.
On July 1st, 2018 Brother Dawns, along with volunteers from other organizations, went to Wakefield in the parish of Trelawney in Jamaica to help build the Wakefield Infant School.
The next day, the bus picked up the team of volunteers from their hotel and took them to the site, where they met up with Jamaican volunteers and contractors and were put into teams and given assignments. The teams held hands and prayed before setting off to do their tasks. In total, the teams built 4 classrooms, a library and a kitchen.
On the final day of the build, Brother Dawns and some of the volunteers went back to their hotel in bare feet, as they donated the work boots they were wearing to the Jamaican volunteers as well as their tools.
Speaking to local media, Brother Dawns thanked IUPAT DC 46 for contributing to such a worthy cause. He gave a special thanks to Business Manager Bruno Mandic for not only donating to the project, but also giving him the time off to help. He said he hopes the IUPAT DC 46 will do a school build of their own in the future.
The Canadian volunteers were made up of: The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 46; The Carpenters Union, Local 27; President of the Ontario CBTU; President of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA); Vice-President of the Jamaican Canadian Association; Food For The Poor; Helping Hands Jamaica; Crosslynx; H.E.A.R.T. (Human Employer and Resource Training); Jamaican Trade School; as well as some of our Union contractors.
Food for the Poor is a non-profit organization that helps build schools in Jamaica and Haiti. To date, they have built 30 schools in Jamaica and 19 in Haiti. Helping Hands Jamaica is a non-profit organization that was founded in Canada to help build schools in rural Jamaica. Of the 30 schools built by Food for the Poor, twenty were done through Helping Hands Jamaica.