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Buju Banton gives a helping hand

Ruth Oyesibi (left), manager of the Possibility Programme Youth Hostel, and Rosemary Duncan, director of the Buju Banton Foundation, showing some of the items donated to the care hostel.

Buju Banton is making the road easier for some less fortunate boys.

The reggae singer, through his four-month-old Buju Banton Foundation, donated food and personal care items to one of the care hostels under the Possibility Programme located in Kingston. The occasion was on Labour Day last Thursday.

“Buju sent his message to these young men explaining that he knows what it is like to be in their shoes. He grew up in a poor community and understands what poverty is like and to be without certain needs. That’s why he chose that facility,” Rosemary Duncan, director of the Buju Banton Foundation, told the Jamaica Observer.

The entertainer was away on the Guyana leg of the Long Walk to a Freedom concert tour.

“One hundred percent of the funds came from Buju. As promised, the proceeds from his concerts would help those in need, so he took a percentage and invested the rest,” said Duncan.

The Possibility Programme, which operates through the Ministry of Youth, was established in 2002 with the aim of getting at-risk youths in the corporate Area off the streets. Targeted are children, who wipe windscreens at the major intersections, who are provided with the necessary skills and emotional support needed for them to maximize their full potential.

Duncan further stated that approximately 10-12 young men between the ages of 13-21 benefited from the project.

The director explained why that facility was selected.

“A whole list of homes was presented and we found out that this one was most in need. They were in dire need of help. The facility manager, Ruth Oyesibi, also spoke with us and that is how it was arranged,” she said.

“They were ecstatic… overjoyed. They got enough items that can last them for a year… personal care items, toiletries, meat products, water, juices. A lot of stuff. We received a letter saying thanks from the directors and saying how they did not expect that many items.”

Opened on December 20, 2006, the care facility accommodates vulnerable boys and young men.

“It is a facility for boys who have various financial and social issues. When we went there, there was one we were told that they were trying to get into school…but this is where they live,” said Duncan.

The Buju Banton Foundation spoke of plans for the near future.

“We want to go into rural communities for the next project. I cannot say at this time when the next outreach will be, but we’ll definitely help rural communities and homes in need,” she said.

Buju Banton (given name Mark Myrie) served an eight-year sentence on drug charges in a United States prison. He was deported to Jamaica in December 2018.

He kicked off his Long Walk to Freedom concert tour at the National Stadium in Kingston in March and made stops in Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, and Suriname. It continues in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, on June 15, and St Kitts on June 29. Buju Banton is scheduled to headline Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay on July 20.