Araba Scott Children's Foundation’s mission is to bring children of all circumstances living in St. Thomas together with professional artists, teachers and therapists, to create, learn, play and embrace their culture, increasing well-being, tolerance, and helping give children a positive view of themselves.
Children in St. Thomas are learning, playing and creating in a safe and nurturing environment. The children’s self-confidence grows and literacy rates improve, regardless of ability or disability. Children of all backgrounds treat each other with dignity and respect, as a result of learning better conflict resolution and tolerance for one another (as modelled by ASCF staff and volunteers).
ASCF also supports the Jamaican Government’s, National Shared Vision for education for 2030;
“Each learner will maximise his/her potential in an enriching, learner-centred education environment…supported by committed, qualified, competent, effective and professional educators and staff.
The system produces full literacy and numeracy, a globally competitive, quality workforce and a disciplined culturally aware and ethical Jamaican citizenry.”
Our vision as an organisation, is also in line with the performance targets set by the Jamaican Government and stipulated in the 2015 White Paper on Education, which promotes, “building community participation…to influence positive behavioural changes and stimulate a higher level of involvement.”
Our value system is simple and based on the Articles set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Jamaica signed in 1990 and ratified in 1991. We are especially led by Articles 13, 14, 19, 23, 28, 29, 31, 39 and 42, as these articles champion the rights of children in St. Thomas that are not currently being taught, enforced or monitored.
- All children in St. Thomas have the right to freedom of expression, so long as they respect others in the way they share information. Children have the right to share information by a number of means like talking, drawing, painting and writing. [Article 13]
- All children in St. Thomas have the right to think and believe what they choose to and practice their religion, so long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights [Article 14]
- Every child in St. Thomas has the right to socialise with other children and to join and participate in groups and organisations, as long as they are not preventing others from enjoying their rights [Article 15]
- Every child in St. Thomas has the right to be protected from violence, abuse, neglect and ill treatment from parents or carers. [Article 19]
- All children in St. Thomas with a disability have the right to live a full and decent life with dignity and, as far as possible, independence and to play an active part in the community. [Article 23]
- Every child in St. Thomas has the right to an education. Primary education must be free and different forms of secondary education must be available to every child, regardless of disability. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity and their rights. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this. [Article 28]
- Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child to respect everyone’s human rights, like their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment. [Article 29]
- Every child in St. Thomas has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities. [Article 31]
- All children in St. Thomas who have experienced neglect, abuse, exploitation, torture or who are victims of war must receive special support to help them recover their health, dignity, self-respect and social life.[Article 39]
- Governments must actively work to make sure children and adults in St. Thomas know about the Convention. [Article 42]
The Founder's Story
Founder & Director
I was born in Britain, but my father is from St. Thomas, Jamaica. While studying for my degree in Criminal Justice BA (hons) at the University of Westminster, I made 3 long trips to Jamaica every year after I noticed the needs and complexities of the children in St. Thomas. God has called me to use my gifts and experiences to help give these children a better start in life, and more opportunities for growth.
My heart for Jamaica came after my grandmother, Louise Barnes was brutally murdered in St. Catherine. My grandmother came from Port Morant in Morant Bay, parish of St, Thomas. Miss Lou was a loving grandmother, and wanted more than anything to build on her relationship with her grandchildren. I remember her contagious laugh, the way she spoke fast, her beautiful head of hair, and her amazing voice.
We cannot deny that Jamaica has a serious problem with the senseless killings, and we have come to the conclusion that living in extreme poverty or extreme wealth can make people heartless. We can change this if we try and alleviate some of the pressures of poverty on children. After all, nothing changes if nothing changes. As a Christian, I feel our understanding of ‘grace’ in St. Thomas, falls short when it comes to how we treat our children. Therefore, grace and love have become the foundation of everything we do.
I am now a Children’s Advocate, studying International Law LLM, and have since received the University of Westminster Social Impact Award 2019 for my work as Director and Founder of Araba Scott Children’s Foundation. Our work in St. Thomas has been recognised by UNICEF who featured a short story about our activities during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Why St. Thomas
While poverty is widespread throughout Jamaica, St. Thomas faces unique challenges that remain unaddressed and need our undivided attention. St. Thomas is often referred to as the ‘forgotten parish’. Araba Scott Children’s Foundation believes we should always seek to work in ‘difficult’ places rather than work on developing places that are perceived as ‘easier’ to work in, or that are already receiving assistance.
In 2015, the Planning Institute of Jamaica ranked St. Thomas, Jamaica’s poorest parish. 54% of households, in a population of only 95,000 still use pit latrines. Sexual abuse and incest of children is under reported in St. Thomas but suspected to be highest here, because of the severity of poverty, poor report and respond mechanisms and the lack of things to do.
Our own observations have highlighted that a worrying number of children are experiencing the loss of one or both parents, and not receiving the emotional support to express their grief. There are a lack of positive outlets such as art and cultural activities in St. Thomas. Many of these activities occur at school or at church, but where children do not attend either of these regularly or at all, they end up isolated and with little to do.
The quality of life for children with physical disabilities and severe learning difficulties is also a concern for us. Until 2017, there wasn’t a single secondary school in the parish for these children to attend. Parents keep their children at home because, “they won’t be the first who can’t read or write”. Therefore, these children lack stimulation, social interaction and positive outlets.
Every child has the capacity to learn at his or her own pace. All they need is the opportunity. What children in St. Thomas lack is opportunity. What we are providing is opportunity. What they can achieve will foster further opportunities for themselves and the next generation!
What we do
Araba Scott Children’s Foundation provides artistic, educational and cultural activities for children aged 0-17 in St. Thomas, Jamaica. We do this by providing free literacy and numeracy classes, and art sessions for children with and without special educational needs, and or physical disabilities.
We operate from our safe haven, Barnes Hall, which is located in the district of Port Morant. Our building is wheelchair accessible, with three fully functioning toilets, a play room which can be used as a quiet room, a main hall, office space and a yard for outdoor activities.
If you would like to offer our young people artistic, cultural and educational enrichment, we would love to hear from you. Our email is listed below so we encourage you to send us a proposal of the work you’d like to do with our young people.
So far we have partnered with:
Regeneration Kidz Klub; bringing spiritual awareness to our children which educates them about who they are, and how they can serve others.
Art Therapy Jamaica; providing free 8-week art therapy sessions with Jamaica’s only licensed art therapist.
Manifesto Jamaica, British Council and the National Theatre of Scotland; to bring physical theatre to our young people.
We would also welcome donations towards the labour and materials for a new ceiling for the main hall and office, and also donations towards solar panel(s) to provide us with electricity.
We accept donations of new or in good condition:
- Black school shoes for boys and girls aged 4-17.
- Sensory toys for children with disabilities.
- Essential items: Food (monetary donations for cooked meals or long-life foods), soap, sanitary towels, (preferably reusable ones), toothpaste, deodorant and underwear for children aged 3-17.
- School supplies: Notebooks, stationary, school bags, and donations towards uniform and textbooks.
Guidelines for sending non-monetary donations
Serve with us
In the Summer of 2021 we will be offering you a chance to work with us in St. Thomas! Stay tuned for updates on this.
We are extending our invitation for two new members to the trustee board into 2020. We need:
- A trustee with experience in charity finance (budget forecasting, accounting & making grant applications).
- A trustee with experience of assessing the learning and developmental needs of children of pre-school, primary and secondary school age.
- A trustee with an understanding of the social and emotional needs of vulnerable children and adolescents, and who has worked therapeutically with children.
Stay tuned for updates about this!
Staff and volunteer vacancies
In 2021 we will be recruiting:
News and Events
AddressCurtis Bottom, Port Morant,