RESIDENTS of multiple St James communities will become the first beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Social Security’s Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) Program’s new community engagement series, which aims to teach them how the program works and how it will benefit them.
While attendance was low at the launch of the program at St John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday, those present expressed confidence that it would help them overcome the challenges they are currently facing. faced to collect their PATH payments.
Beverly Thompson, a 70-year-old resident of the Cambridge district, said she hoped the program‘s educational sessions would help resolve a problem she encountered due to sharing the same name with another beneficiary.
“I went to collect my PATH payment last week, and yesterday (Tuesday) the post lady called me and said there were two of us (who) have the same name. didn’t they rectify that at that time?’ since I’ve already collected two such checks without a middle name and two with a middle name,” Thompson explained.
“I said I wanted to rectify the issue because it looks like I will no longer be able to collect PATH. I think they (the ministry officials) will answer any questions we have on PATH,” Thompson added, in commenting on the expected success of the community engagement series.
Delta Rashford, an 85-year-old resident of the retirement district, was also hopeful about the engagement series’ success after hearing news of its planned launch.
“I heard the announcement and I heard them talking about this program, and I sat down and listened and said, ‘Boy, I need a little help because that I’m old now.’ I feel good and I think it might help me because I can’t work anymore, so hopefully they can help me through this initiative,” Rashford said.
The PATH Community Engagement Series aims to target 239 communities across Jamaica over a six-month period, to identify the varying needs of residents who will be impacted and to collect data to refine Ministry of Labor service. and Social Security. offerings.
In 2002, the Jamaican government introduced the PATH program with the goal of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in many communities and helping children from poor families go to school and stay healthy.
But while the program has reported having had a positive impact on many Jamaicans through the provision of cash benefits and the introduction of a comprehensive suite of support interventions, concerns have arisen that some residents may not access program provisions in some remote areas as expected.
Addressing Wednesday’s launch, Audrey Deer-Williams, chief technical director responsible for the Department of Labor’s Social Security Division, highlighted the goal of the PATH program to improve the living standards of beneficiaries over the time.
“In this 20th year of celebration, our goal is to continue the task of increasing educational attainment and improving health outcomes for the poor by breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. That means we want to make sure each generation has a better standard of living than the last,” Deer-Williams said.
“PATH acts as a safety net to prevent families from falling further into poverty in the event of an incident. We want to make sure that every family or individual who needs to access a social assistance program knows how to apply and what documents are required,” added Deer-Williams.