Scotiabank Commits $2 Million To Women’s Centre Tablet Drive

Pledges support for critical societal issues including education and violence against women

Hon. Olivia 'Babsy" Grange ( 2nd right) , Minister with Responsibility for Gender Affairs accepts a donation of $2 million towards the purchase of 66 tablets for students at the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation from Audrey Tugwell Henry (2nd left) , President and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica. Looking on are them are Debby-Ann Brown-Salmon ( right) , Chairman of the Board and Dr. Zoe Simpson ( left) , Executive Director.

Hon. Olivia 'Babsy" Grange ( right) , Minister with Responsibility for Gender Affairs accepts/ examines one of the 66 tablets donated to the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation by Scotiabank.  With her is Audrey Tugwell Henry (left) , President and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica, (back row) Dr. Zoe Simpson (left) , Executive Director and Debby-Ann Brown-Salmon ( right) , Chairman of the Board.

Kingston, Jamaica – April 13, 2021 - On Friday (April 9), Scotiabank presented a donation of $2 million dollars that will assist the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation ( WCFJ) in its ongoing efforts to provide remote learning opportunities for its students, many of whom who have been disenfranchised due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This sizeable donation has assisted the Foundation to procure sixty-six 10-inch tablets that will be distributed at the start of the summer term to WCJF students who include adolescent and expectant mothers. 

Making the presentation, Audrey Tugwell Henry, President and CEO of Scotiabank commended the organization for its impactful work in providing educational support for these young women annually. “At Scotiabank, we have committed to support programs and partner with organizations that provide the tools needed to improve students’ education and employment prospects, thereby increasing the likelihood of financial success in the future,” Tugwell Henry said. 

In March, Scotiabank announced a global commitment of over $500 million Canadian dollars over the next ten years, which will be invested in promoting economic resilience among disadvantaged groups. Included in this, Tugwell Henry noted that the Bank will be helping to address critical societal issues caused or exacerbated the pandemic including initiatives that help to address violence and other forms of abuse directed against women. 

Dr. Zoe Simpson, Executive Director of the WCJF who was present at the handover explained that the Foundation’s efforts to provide the adolescent mothers with academic continuity during the pandemic have been stymied by limited resources. 

“The blended approach that we have embraced and employed will be significantly enhanced by this sizeable donation of digital devices. We are eternally grateful to Scotiabank for this tangible display of interest in the education of our young mothers. In the bid to reduce measures of inequality and inequity, it is also imperative that the girls be enabled to navigate the digital space, and empowered to find their places on the global stage,” Dr. Simpson said. 

Minister with responsibility for the Women’s Centre, the Hon. Olivia Grange, was in attendance and shared her gratitude saying “This contribution by Scotiabank will really go a far way in assisting the girls. This programme is helping young girls to restart their lives and to continue their education. Some have been abused, some have experimented and got pregnant, some have found themselves in situations where they become mothers at an early age and so the role of this organization (the Women’s Centre) is to say to them that life continues.”

Minister Grange also noted that the organization has also been focussing on assisting young men -the fathers of the newborns- who want to become responsible fathers by providing the relevant support. 

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation is a public body that is mandated to provide adolescent mothers with continuing education during the birth of their babies. Presently, more than 1000 young women are being served by the organization which delivers its mandate from eighteen sites across the island. 

In recent weeks. Scotiabank has donated approximately $40,000 US dollars across the region to organizations that support women and families who have experienced violence including the Cayman Island Crisis Centre and the Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago.