Carlton Williams could hardly contain his joy and pride as he, along with his peers, gathered for his first graduation ceremony on Friday, November 1.
“A first me a graduate from me know myself. Mi nuh know myself a graduate not even from basic school; mi feel boasy… A first mi look so nice,” said the 21-year-old windscreen wiper.
His graduation exercise was held at Garmex HEART Academy on Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston.
Williams and 13 others from communities in Kingston successfully completed the three-week ‘Windscreen Wipers Intervention Initiative’.
They were exposed to courses in civics, conflict management, family life management, and career development.
Williams, who is a resident of Majesty Gardens, is a former student of Seaward Primary and Junior High.
He is an aspiring Reggae artiste.
“Mi just dream see myself on a stage a sing to a whole heap a people…” Williams said.
His infectious personality and positive outlook on life belie his rough upbringing, which included the incarceration of his mother.
He told the state-owned Jamaica Information Service that he was raised by his father and, because he did not have his birth certificate, he did not progress beyond ninth grade and he never graduated due to financial difficulties.
He said it was through the training programme that he was able to get his birth certificate and also open a bank account.
“When you don’t have your birth paper and all dem tings deh it’s like you is a man without a head, because a nuff time mi want go get a work, but when you don’t have that, sometimes you can’t get a work,” Williams noted.
He stated that he and his colleagues have been encouraging other windscreen wipers to access the training to improve their employment opportunity.
Williams said he decided to participate because he wants to better his life, and he does not want his future children to see him ‘wiping car glass’.
He added: “Mi just want to make something of myself, so that they can look up to their father and see their father as a role model…
“People don’t really gravitate to us much in the streets, and I understand, because some of the [wipers] are disrespectful, but everywhere you go you have good and bad,” Williams said.
The programme, in the meantime, is focused on training and mentoring unattached young men engaged in wiping windscreens across the Corporate Area.
The trainees will continue in a programme at the HEART Trust/NTA, which will help them to matriculate to a skill area of choice.
The programme involves the private sector, the HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica National Service Corps, the HOPE programme, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
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