Keeping Dreams Alive
It was over 30 years ago, September 1988 to be precise when the beautiful land of Jamaica was hit by category 5 Hurricane, Gilbert. The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona suffered significant damage, and out of this crisis was birthed the University of the West Indies Development and Endowment Fund (UWIDEF).
Conceived by the late Hon. Sir Alister McIntyre and The Hon. Dennis Lalor, OJ, these visionaries saw the need which the hurricane created and success was achieved with Public and Private Sector partners working in a collaborative effort to raise funds to restore the University.
The UWI Development and Endowment Fund (UWIDEF) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1990 and has over the years been a fund-raising arm for projects that support the development of the UWI Mona Campus.
It all began when the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies was devastated by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and a small dedicated team of Jamaican entrepreneurs formed the Jamaican Appeal Committee. In one year, they raised enough funds to contribute significantly towards the repairs of the buildings so as to keep classes going and the University’s teaching hospital functioning. This success was continued through the formation of UWIDEF on August 20th, 1990.
The task of repairs to the University having been completed, there was a further desire to do more for the advancement of the Institution. Consequently, UWIDEF was officially incorporated as a Registered Charitable Organization in 1990. UWIDEF has always and will continue to support the development of UWI, ensuring that its motto remains true... “Oriens Ex Occidente Lux – A Light Rising from the West””
More comfortable in a laboratory than with people, Kimberley channeled her familial experience with cancer into a final year research project (the reliance on medicinal plants by cancer patients in Jamaica), which was later published in the International Cancer Causes and Control Journal. She plans to write another paper on the use of soursop in treating cancer. Her life goal is to find alternative pain free cancer treatment(s) to extend the lives and quality of life of patients. Her current sojourn at Natural Products Institute is a ‘perfect fit’ as the Institute’s focus is ‘to unearth the full potential of natural products for the welfare of the country and the region’.
As a believer in paying it forward, after her first year in Graduate school, Kimberley was awarded a Postgraduate Scholarship by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and also embraced the opportunity to mentor and guide undergraduate students through the STEP (Second Year Transformational Experience Programme). This programme allowed her to directly lend support and guidance to undergraduate students who are in a similar position to the one she was in before. She also used this medium to encourage the students in her mentorship group to work hard, get involved in co-curricular activities and apply for the scholarships that are available to help them excel.
Kimberley intends to continue her research, publish more papers and play her part in preserving the rich oral history and traditional medicinal customs of Jamaica.
Her parting words: “I want to sincerely thank UWIDEF’s donors and encourage them to continue supporting the organization as there are a lot of needy students on the campus whose lives will be significantly impacted by their kind support and will contribute to sustaining the work of the distinguished and committed UWIDEF team.”