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Women’s Centre of Jamaica receives UNESCO prize

KINGSTON, JamaicaThe Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCOJF) has received the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is reporting. Portfolio minister Olivia Grange, accepted the award at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France today on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child.

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The prize is given annually to individuals, institutions non-governmental organisations and other entities engaged in activities in girls’ and women’s education and is sponsored by the People’s Republic of China, the ministry said in a release.

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The WCOJF was recognised for helping adolescent mothers to continue their education and was awarded US$50,000 to help further its work. This year’s other awardee, the Misr El-Kheir Foundation, supports girls’ education in some of the poorest villages of Egypt.

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The Women’s Centre, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, was established 40 years ago to devise programmes and activities to address the needs of adolescent mothers, including equipping them to take care of their children and helping them to complete their education at its centres across the island.

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According to Grange, prior to the establishment of the Women’s Centre, pregnancy was like a death sentence for the adolescent girl.

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“Her health was endangered, her education would stop, her hopes and dreams would vanish, and she faced a life of poverty and dependence”