From Job Loss to Financial Confidence with the N.C.B. Foundation Level-Up Grant Programme
When COVID-19 struck, several Jamaicans lost their livelihood. Many even lost their financial confidence, but little did they know that their comeback from the setback was already in the making.
Having experienced the loss of employment, job security, and inability to pay increasing bills, Dayal Cadien, and Shaneka Anderson were determined to become successful online entrepreneurs, under the Level-Up Grant Programme offered through the N.C.B. Foundation and Internet Income Jamaica Limited.
Dayal, a 57-year-old musician who worked in the hotel industry, had seen his job survive many shutdowns from hurricanes, gas price demonstrations, to even 9-11; but he had never seen a shut down so uncertain before. It is no easy task remaining confident in the face of adversity, but for the veteran musician, giving up was not a chord that he could stroke. So, without even realizing that the same thing that always threatened to defeat him, would also bring him freedom and success, Dayal decided to reinvent himself, by providing music services online.
For Dayal signing up was not enough. His family needed his support and the bills became insurmountable. This prompted him to sign-up on an earning platform before the first class. Once he started training under the programme, he wasted no time doing as Alicia Lyttle and her team instructed, and within three days of starting the programme, Dayal got his first order.
Does lightning strike in the same place twice? It seems it did, because for Shaneka, a mother and call center worker, this was not just divine intervention, it was destiny carving her path one miracle at a time. It began with Shaneka’s supervisor, planting the seed of earning online. And as though destiny was in charge of nature, she got her laptop just before COVID-19 struck in Jamaica, and lost her job right after. Another miraculous piece of the puzzle, wouldn’t you say? Shaneka’s disappointment of her job loss was short-lived. She remembered the struggle of being raised by a single mother, after losing her father at age nine. As if like fate she was prepared to fight for hers and her three-year-old son’s survival; which perhaps would not have been possible without the N.C.B. Foundation’s intervention.
Shaneka had several obstacles, but she was determined to stay the course. She now realizes that every challenge was the catapult that advanced her further ahead of her own expectations. Shaneka not only did well but with tears of joy, graduated as top earner, and Valedictorian of her team. Now she awaits another promotion to a higher level online service provider.
When asked what she was most proud of since participating in the N.C.B. Foundation Level-Up Grant Programme she said,
“I am proud of so many things. Primarily, I am happy I took the opportunity the N.C.B. Foundation provided. I was placed on a great team and was given the tools I needed to succeed. Now, even as a fulltime mother, I am an entrepreneur earning from the comfort of my home. I am obsessed with my customers; they are the diamonds in my business. I was the underdog in my family, and through this program and my newfound skills, I am now treated differently. I have always been driven, dedicated, and capable, but this program has shown my true potential and I am extremely thankful to the N.C.B. Foundation and the Internet Income Jamaica Limited.”
For Dayal, he is a big dreamer and a big earner too. Though almost 60 -years old, he never relented, once he had work to do. When asked the same question Dayal, pointed to N.C.B. Foundation’s social awareness in providing the grant at the right time.
“After almost 40 years as a musician and eight weeks in the program, I am a proud graduate with new skills, international clients, and committed customer relationships. I am already a Level One Fiverr Seller, working toward my level two badge and offering my services on other platforms. This has been a tremendous blessing, but above all, if I should have the need to start over again, I am confident I will be successful.”
Jamilia Crooks-Brown, Programmes Administrator, N.C.B. Foundation said the success of the programme had engendered hope in Jamaica’s ability to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a more skilled and marketable workforce.
“Since our inception, we have fostered the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youth. Now, more than ever, we are buoyed by the spirit and drive of the participants in this programme to use the opportunities created in the digital space to carve a better future for themselves and their families. It has always been our mandate to promote entrepreneurship and youth development and we couldn’t be more proud of this cohort”, she said.
The N.C.B. Foundation Level-Up Grant Programme commenced on June 3, 2020. Its conception and success is a testament to the fact that philanthropy and social responsiveness is alive and well in Jamaica. It exemplifies a corporate giant taking action to respond to the needs of the nation, restoring hope and financial confidence through strategic partnerships.