DC 46 – Building a School in Jamaica


In December 2017, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 46 Business Representative Ivan Dawns was informed about the need for an infant school to be built in Wakefield, Jamaica. When Brother Dawns proposed the initiative to the delegates of the IUPAT DC 46, funding for it was unanimously approved.

On July 1, 2018 Brother Dawns, along with volunteers from other unions and organizations, went to Wakefield in the parish of Trelawney in Jamaica to help build the Wakefield Infant School. They teamed up with Jamaican volunteers and contractors to complete the job. Each day, the group held hands and prayed before setting off to do their tasks. In total, four classrooms, a library and a kitchen were built.

On the final day of the build, Brother Dawns and other volunteers returned to their hotel in bare feet, as they donated the work boots they were wearing to the Jamaican volunteers, as well as their tools.

Speaking to local media, Brother Dawns thanked IUPAT DC 46 for contributing to such a worthy cause. He gave a special thanks to DC 46 BM/ST Bruno Mandic for not only donating to the project, but also giving him the time off to help. He said he hopes DC 46 will do a school build of their own in the future.

The Canadian volunteers included members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 46; the Carpenters Union, Local 27; the President of the Ontario CBTU; the President of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA); the Vice-President of the Jamaican Canadian Association; Crosslynx; H.E.A.R.T. (Human Employer and Resource Training); Jamaican Trade School; and union contractors.

They were joined by Food for the Poor, a non-profit organization that helps build schools in Jamaica and Haiti. To date, they have built 30 schools in Jamaica and 19 in Haiti. Helping Hands Jamaica, a non-profit organization that was founded in Canada to help build schools in rural Jamaica, also assisted. Of the 30 schools built by Food for the Poor, 20 were done through Helping Hands Jamaica.