More than 60 adolescent parents will receive bursaries and scholarships valued at some $3.9 million from the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) to help with their educational expenses.

The WCJF is an entity of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, is mandated to provide continuing education and support for teen mothers.

Executive Director of the WCJF, Dr. Zoe Simpson, said the Advancing SecondaryTertiary, Remedial Education for Adolescent Mothers (A-STREAM) programme provides mentors for the girls and sponsorships to ensure that they, along with the fathers can advance their secondary and tertiary-level education.

 The pogramme has assisted more than 50,000 adolescents to date.

Dr. Simpson said they noticed that the girls who reintegrated into the formal school system would need financial and psychosocial support to complete their secondary education.

She also noted that the programme seeks to increase the number of beneficiaries by a percentage each year. To provide every adolescent mother with the mentorship and sponsorship to ensure dropping out of school is not repeated. 

At least four of the scholarships will be in honour of the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the WCJF, the entity’s first National Director Princess Lawes, the late Pamela McNeil; former Executive Director of the WCJF, Beryl Weir and the AIDS Health Care Foundation, which is the primary donor and partner of the Foundation. 

The presentations will be made at the third staging of the A-STREAM awards ceremony on Thursday, July 29, at the WCJF’s headquarters in Kingston. 

Simpson will give an overview of the A-STREAM Programme at the function, and testimonials from adolescent parents will also be included.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange is also set to address the function. 

The function will be held virtually via the Zoom platform beginning at 10:00 a.m.