Trouble in Paradise: Poverty in Jamaica

The name “Jamaica” conjures up certain pictures for a lot of us. Turquoise water and soft sand. Palm and banana trees. Wonderful, spicy, citrusy food, and tall drinks with ice and mint and a sweet touch of rum. And then there’s the music, the rhythms of calypso and reggae and ska. They’ll make you clap your hands, tap your feet, and when you can’t hold back anymore, get up and dance.

Tourists go to Jamaica looking for the perfect beach fantasy, and a lot of them find it. But if you leave the coast behind and go a little deeper inland, you’ll find a different reality.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the sugar trade dominated the Caribbean. On islands like Jamaica, sugar plantations meant a sharp divide in terms of wealth and opportunity. The people who owned the plantations had access to the best of everything. The people who worked them didn’t, and instead, faced a daily struggle for survival that left them with no resources to try for anything better.

This means that in Jamaica today, many of the million and more people living below the poverty line were born into their circumstances, like their parents and grandparents before them, going back generations. It’s a trap that keeps repeating itself. Without money, you can’t give your kids a good education or keep a roof over your head. You can’t make plans for the future when you’re caught in a present that takes all the strength you’ve got.

Think for a second what it would be like for you personally, if you had to choose between having something to eat, and making your mortgage or rent payment.

Think for a second what it would be like for you personally, if you had to choose between having something to eat, and making your mortgage or rent payment. You’d probably take the food, so you could get by, but then you wouldn’t have the security of doors you could lock and windows you could shut. You’d get worn out trying to find the next meal and keep your loved ones safe. You might lose the energy even to hope for a better life.

The choice between food and home is a real one for many of Jamaica’s poor. This is where Creators of Hope comes in.
The homes we build are simple, but they provide hard-working families with one of the things they need most: security. With a place they can call their own, these families have the foundation to build a real future, and get out of the trap they’ve lived in for too long.


Learn about our missionget involved, and mark your calendar for #GivingTuesday on November 28. On the global day of giving back, help us change more families’ lives!

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