The beautiful island Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea of Central America. It has been 60 years since independence after a long period of colonial rule, however, many locals have faced financial challenges. It is due to the economic disparity, which we can find the same structure almost everywhere in the world. Just as Jamaicans describe themselves as “survivors,” they are surviving a harsh reality, with few remedies for the vulnerable in the society.
Jamaican people do not forget humor even in difficult times, living positively and powerfully. They always consider others and share even when they don’t have much. NPO LINK UP JAJA will connect with them across national borders, and provide support at the grassroots level bringing out the charm and talent of Jamaican people. We aim to develop sustainable activities, not only will the people who are supported be energized, but the people who support them will be aware, learned, encouraged, and empowered.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been supporting us. If you became a member of the NPO LINK UP JAJA, purchased our made-in-Jamaica products or followed us on social media, your support is highly appreciated.
In March 2020, due to the effects of the coronavirus, I was forced to return to Japan from Jamaica while I was still an active volunteer in the official development assistant program. In spite of this untimely event, I decided to follow my intuition and pursue my passion in establishing the NPO.
It has been 20 years since Jamaica fascinated me. The beautiful sea, rich nature, reggae music, and above all, the heartwarming and humorous Jamaican people have captured my heart. As I became more involved with the locals, I began to witness their difficulties and sufferings as well.
Many of the problems that plague Jamaicans result from poverty. Why have many remained poor in spite of their industriousness? It is true that some lack jobs. However, many working class citizens still feel an imbalance between low salaries and high prices, insufficient social security, and other social and economic challenges. The difficulties seen in Jamaica can be found all over the globe. How could we possibly work toward solving these problems?
We at NPO LINK UP JAJA want to present a balanced picture, not only Jamaica’s positive and unique culture. We believe cross cultural understanding can also take place when we tackle mutual issues. After all, no big change can happen without small changes. Even if it seems useless, I believe earnestly working together will pave the way for greater rewards.
One-way support is too outdated. We aim to build a sustainable support system which will benefit the helpers and the helped. Come and join us. Be a part of the solution. We are looking forward to linking up with you!
Yours in service,
BUN BUN the MC started his reggae career as a Deejay in 1986. His wide range of achievements include operating a dancehall club, owning a reggae bar and organizing events in various parts of Japan. All of these activities have combined to make BUN BUN an icon on the reggae music scene. By working with reggae musicians who are passionate about Jamaica, we at NPO LINK UP JAJA aim to involve Japanese reggae fans into further cultural exchanges and we hope to create many opportunities for international exchange.
Utilizing his career as a designer, Iori became a Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) volunteer at a community rehabilitation center for children with disabilities in Mandeville, Jamaica. Aiming for sustainable management of the institution, Iori dedicated his skills as a web designer as well as his marketing experience to fundraising. Iori plays an important role for the NPO and he continues to work passionately for Jamaica.
CHAKA CHAKA is the online store that handles Jamaican Fair Trade products in Japan run by NPO LINK UP JAJA. After witnessing the economic damage of the local business sector in Jamaica caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we started to buy made-in-Jamaica products directly from the local artisans to support them. The products are carefully handmade by skilled Jamaicans and their unique designs which appeal to the charm of Jamaica are liked and supported by Japanese customers. “Support locals” is the motto of CHAKA CHAKA and we believe that this business will make it possible to carry out many more projects which link Japan and Jamaica.
Our representative Natsumi has been interested in the circumstances for people living with disabilities(PLWD) in Jamaica for a long time. Natsumi has volunteer experience at Mustard Seed Communities which runs a lot of children’s homes for children and people with special needs in Jamaica. She was also involved with special schools in St. Ann as a JICA volunteer. Her stints at these institutions have made her awareness of the needs for the PLWD in Jamaica much clearer. Unfortunately, the current welfare system for PLWD doesn’t cover a lot of those it is meant to help in Jamaica. There are schools for children with special needs, however, children and adults with severe disabilities often cannot find a place to accept them and provide them with adequate care. As a result, many of these individuals hardly come out of the areas they live in.
People living with disabilities whether they be mental or physical want to lead a happy life. They need a circle of friends, social roles and places to belong in the community. NPO LINK UP JAJA aims to create a place for PLWD to find more social participation opportunities in Jamaican society. That will be the focus and drive of our upcoming activities. In partnership with a variety of agencies and local support, we believe that we can make it happen little by little. As the old Jamaican saying goes, “One one coco full basket.” We hope you will join us regardless of how small you think your contribution might be and help us to spread love and joy!