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Jamaica Diaspora Engagement is a 2-Way Street, Leo Gilling

[SOUTH FLORIDA] – While Jamaicans in Jamaica work to be the best they can be, Jamaicans in the Diaspora do the same. Some of us have a little more resources, others with a lot more, yet pound-for-pound, we all work hard to sustain life, family, and lifestyle.

Many Jamaicans leave the original “soil” to foreign lands to find better, more comfortable opportunities and working conditions, hoping for greener grass. In doing so, we gained a wealth of knowledge that enables us to advance in our careers and play our part in helping needy persons or empowering those at home who serve the needy.

Jamaicans In The Diaspora

I will not brag that there are 3 million Jamaicans in the Diaspora. I am not sure where that number came from. It might be true if we accounted for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and other generations. Since Diaspora includes so many Jamaicans, if it’s true, I can say with a high degree of certainty that we can count on the passion of first-generation Jamaicans to give back to their homeland. Mobilizing other generations might be a challenge.

It is possible, but how often do we train our farrin offspring to give back? I mean from 2nd generation downwards. For example, many of us are also members of the African Diaspora. Yet, one would question how many Jamaicans possess the same amount or more passion for the mother country of Africa; to do a similar amount of passionate work they would for their immediate country of origin (Jamaica). Kudos to the men and women who are Jamaicans persistently doing work and are engaging with Africa. The needs are significant there too.

Mobilizing Diaspora

Mobilizing Diaspora is a difficult task. Whether you live in Jamaica mobilizing Diaspora or somewhere in a “farrin”; it takes understanding, relationship, trust, collaboration, partnership, and a tremendous effort with a great plan to execute.

Mobilizing Diaspora from Jamaica means governments, businesses, organizations, and individuals create partnerships with the Diaspora for development. Mobilizing Diaspora for results in Jamaica is no different. The idea that Diaspora is only Jamaicans in New York, Florida, Canada, or Europe is a myth. The Jamaican Diaspora spans any country where Jamaicans live; which makes it even more difficult because we live in various jurisdictions with different cultures, governments, restrictions, and ways of life.

No individual or government in the Diaspora has jurisdiction over Jamaica and Jamaicans at home. In the same way, no individual or government has jurisdiction over any Diaspora region because we are in various countries with different laws and governance. Therefore, it takes effort to build systems to accommodate the differences and collaborate for developments in Jamaica.

How Can the Diaspora Help Jamaica

There are so many things we can do for Jamaica. We can:

  • Build capacity with Diaspora expertise.
  • Raise funds for projects.
  • Adopt schools, students, or family
  • Start businesses
  • Invest in companies and projects
  • build structures
  • Provide other needed resources to better the country’s growth.

Making a Difference

I can’t tell you that we ALL MUST come together for a cause; that’s not realistic. I can’t tell you either that each person in the Diaspora should give the equivalent of one US dollar to raise 3 million dollars. Though it’s an emotional appeal, that also is unrealistic. I can not tell you that every Jamaican care enough to want to help. That’s not possible. However, whatever we do locally, collectively, as we have always done, can and does make a difference.

Whether you live in Jamaica or the Diaspora, whether it’s a personal donation, a scholarship, a medical mission, a crowdfunding activity, or a best practice seminar, it all goes toward development. You don’t need to wait for the government to tell you what to do; do it as though no one is looking. Build and give as often as you can afford to. It is a good deed.

One Love 

Leo Gilling - Jamaica Diaspora
Leo Gilling – Social Broadcaster, Writer, Philanthropist, Journalist, and Entrepreneur

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