MISS UNIVERSE JAMAICA CHARITY PROGRAMME
We are aware that Miss Universe Jamaica is primarily a beauty movement, but our vision is to create a sustainable new paradigm shift with beauty pageants in Jamaica, moving them totally beyond the immediate focus on beauty of face and figure and taking them to a level of life enhancement exercises based more on philanthropy, scholarships on multiple levels, training for career viability and corporate opportunities for young women – ultimately living our tagline on a daily basis – “Enhancing Lives Through Beauty.”
The Miss Universe Jamaica Organization has placed very strong emphasis on identifying and assisting local, national and international charities as part of its ongoing charity outreach programme, providing a continuous platform for contestants and title winners to give back to their communities in particular and to a wider extent, their nation and the world at large.
One of the new components established by the organizers is the Miss Universe Jamaica Altruism Award, which is presented to the contestant whose charity programme raises the most funds for the charity of her choice and creates the greatest impact on life enhancement, wellness and nation building. Each contestant is mandated to identify a social, economic, or other need in her community and develop a strategy to raise funds to assist in alleviating that need. The contestants have been very excited about this new feature and have gone to great and innovative levels in identifying programmes as far-reaching as meal provision, bake sales, painting and beautification – all to assist community members such as single parents having difficulty sending their children to school, needy children who go hungry and basic schools that need a beautification boost, but do not have it in their budgets to do so.
On the national level, the primary charity is the “GO GETTER” (Giving Our Girls Educational Tools To Enrich & Reward) initiative, which raises funds through Miss Universe Jamaica activities and award full scholarships to academically gifted, but needy primary school girls for five-year high school attendance. The scholarships are awarded every five years, starting in September 2014. However, between the five year periods, associate scholarships are awarded annually, to assist other needy high and primary schoolgirls with books, meals, transportation, uniforms, personal items and school related expenses.
The MUJ Organization is honoured and very pleased to report that Shane Andrews from Norwich Primary in Portland is the 2015 GO GETTER recipient of a full five (5) year scholarship to Titchfield High School, where the cost of her tuition, books and uniform are all undertaken by the Jamaican Beauty, Fashion & Wellness brand. She will also receive some funding towards other school related expenses
Also, as part of the “GO GETTER” programme, Miss Universe Jamaica title holders’ duties will include visiting primary and high schools and making presentations in personal development, social graces, general awareness and basic hygiene.
Miss Universe Jamaica has reached out to the nation of Nigeria and identified the MACA programme – Mothers Against Child Abandonment – as the target for international assistance this year. The programme became known to the MUJ organization when National Directors Karl Williams and Mark McDermoth were invited to Nigeria by Norma Martin of A Fashion Affair in Atlanta to co-produce the Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant and the DESTINY Child Fashion show in December, 2011.
Mother Against Child Abandonment (MACA)
Mother’s Against Child Abandonment (MACA) was conceived in 2007 by Her Excellency, Obioma Liyel-Imoke, wife of the Governor of Cross River State. “Since its official opening in October 2008,” she said, “it been challenging, nerve racking but most definitely fulfilling! One of the things I promised God in my life time in return of His goodness and mercy towards me was that I would show Him the same appreciation and even more by alleviating the plight of a particular genre of women and children,” said Obioma.
According to the Wife of the Governor, the aim of MACA is to eradicate the alarming rates of teenage pregnancy and child abandonment in Cross River State. “Cross River State is a land of alluring beauty, character and amazing potential. When a child is abandoned, the land is denied of that potential.”
Every week MACA secretariat gets calls from various sources to pick up babies left in dustbins or very filthy environments. Some are left to die…victims of cold harsh weather for actions that they were not responsible for.
Their mothers are usually young ladies in their teens. Some are raped, some are lured into having sex with older men, and sadly some are merely promiscuous largely as a result of a breakdown in the family structure. In many cases poverty remains an underlying factor.
This situation gave birth to the Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant in December 2007 as the Wife of the Governor realized that these teenagers needed a role model – someone whom they would look up to and who in turn would listen to them.
Over 100 abandoned babies have been rescued through the MACA initiative. Two years later, Obioma’s attention was drawn to yet another category of the abandoned; this time they were older children who were left to roam the streets of Calabar with very little hope for future. October 11 2009, marked the exodus of about 54 children from the cold streets to a much more comfortable environment provided for by the Cross River State Government. That singular yet potent gesture resulted in a name change from Street Children to Destiny Children.
December that same year also marked a change of garment as the wife of the Governor introduced the Destiny Child Charity Fashion Show. The show serves as a fundraiser for the upkeep of the children. In this unique event, the Destiny Children get to parade like kings and queens alongside professional models and artistes.
“Government is about serving those who need Government the most,” Obioma says. “These are the people who need us most. “If we do not cater for them then we would have failed as a Government.”
Nigeria and Jamaica have now entered a new partnership through the Miss Universe Jamaica Organization, whereby, the reigning Carnival Calabar Queen visits Jamaica as special guest of the organization and works with the approved charities on the ground here and the reigning Miss Universe Jamaica reciprocates the visit to Nigeria to work with the MACA and other charities there. The partnership is symbiotic, strengthens the ties between the countries and is already showing signs of potential economic development in tourism, culture and trade for both nations.
Miss Universe Jamaica – truly Enhancing Lives Through Beauty…