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Founded in 2002 by 19 year old Zebi Williams as a way to connect and contribute to her community. Zebi spent the year waiting tables, saving her tips so she could pack 3 trunks full of supplies and travel back to her hometown of Middleton, Jamaica to found the Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp. Zebi remembered her formative years in Middleton as some of her fondest, it was a world of freedom, imagination and exploration. Poverty was a reality but life was rich because there was laughter and friendship. Children played outside all day and picked fruits from the trees when they got hungry. It had been over six years since she had touched foot on the island, people had grown up, friends had moved away and modern technology had begun to make its mark on the culture of the community. Children were commuting further to school and seeing less of each other, video games and television monopolized free time, and a trend of gangster idolization had begun to plant seeds in the cultural values of the community. A firm believer in the saying to whom much is given much is expected Zebi looked back on her life thus far and recognized that many of the things she loved about herself were the result of her elders taking the time to mentor and nurture those qualities within her. Self-confidence, optimism, the willingness to explore new things, artistic expression, community ownership, self-determination, and happiness – these were all gifts that she received and needed to return to the younger generation.
It is from this place that Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp was built and it is from this place that it continues to grow.
THE 5th Annual – LIL RAGGAMUFFIN SUMMER CAMP is an international youth development organization. We are Entrepreneurs without Borders. Our summer camp program seeks to revitalize a coffee-farming village in Jamaica by nurturing a community of youth that see themselves as CREATORS – people who find solutions to problems and turn their passions into profit. By mobilizing groups of entrepreneurs to volunteer and serve as role models, we are providing youth with examples, demystifying the process of entrepreneurship – empowering a generation of youth to create a sustainable future.
We serve youth ages 5-19 as part of a community; reinforcing the beauty of the existing culture and creating new ways of thought that are empowering for all. As the camper navigates through the 6 stages of our program they are encouraged to use their imagination, develop personal passions and skills, understand the meaning of teamwork, expand their world view through travel, undergo a rites of passage ceremony, develop business plans, create collective visions for their community, teach and lead those younger than themselves and lastly create economically viable businesses to build their local economy.
- We believe quality relationships are at the core of any effective youth development organization.
- We believe young people, throughout the world, need environments that offer positive peer and adult relationships, guidance, structure, high expectations and opportunities to try new things.
- We believe that when you know who you are and where you stand in the world, you are empowered to create the world you want to see.
- We believe that the world is abundant and the failure of the world economy is the failure to tap into the unlimited human potential that exist
- We believe WE ARE CREATORS
This is a crucial time in Jamaica. Murder rates are reaching record levels, (Jamaica has the 2nd highest murder rate in the western hemisphere). Teen pregnancy and HIV are on the rise and unemployment figures are disheartening. In 2009 Middleton was hit by its first act of deadly violence. A gang from the out skirts of Kingston traveled up the mountain to rob and tax the coffee-farming residents. They ended up killing one young man and crucially injuring another. Our old music teacher, a local leader, was one of the residents caught in the attack. The children and residents are still in shock. The youth are scared and have considered picking up guns to protect themselves. We are proud to witness the revitalizing impact Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp has had on the community. We are helping the youth and their parents to discuss the future of their community and the ways in which they can break the cycle of poverty and violence that has plagued Jamaica since slavery. In a country rich with heritage, a country that gave birth to the international movements of Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley, we are inspired by the possibility that exist. It is crucial that the LRSC remains visible and strong at this time.
This past summer I had the pleasure to attend the Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp 2012 fundraiser at Brooklyn Stoops in New York in which they met their goal in donations for their annual Summer Camp in Jamaica. Performances throughout the evening by artists, Meleni Smith, Meridian, Cavalier, Yohimbe, MayaNicol and Charlie & Margaux
Members and Founder Zebi Williams of the Lil Raggamuffin have the kindest and most generous spirits and even though 2012 Lil Raggamufin Summer Camp has passed, 2013 will be here before you know it, so if this organization speaks to your heart, donations are accepted –> here and will be greatly appreciated <3 Cipriana
Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp 2012 Fundraiser
*Photos below exclusive to UBB
Fitz Henley of World Citizen TV
Jewelry Designer Nyne Lyves (on the L)
Artist Lisci Libacion
Guitarist and Vocalist Yohimbe of Game Rebellion
Violaist and Violinist Charlie & Margaux
Model Jessi M’ Bengue
Founder Zebi Williams of the Lil Raggamuffin