THE ECONOMIC fallout resulting from COVID-19 has left many people jobless and is affecting the ability of men living in inner-city communities who are constrained from their daily ‘hustle’ to provide for their families and loved ones.
Jerome Jackson, acting chairman of the Community Development Council and Benevolent Society in August Town, is advising these men to tap into their cultural talents to generate a steady income for themselves to provide for their families.
“I would encourage young men, at this time, who are not occupied to occupy themselves by being creative, innovative, and educate themselves,” suggested Jackson as he pointed out that access to the Internet provides opportunities that can be explored to earn an income. He also highlighted that the cultural industry is a multibillion-dollar sector.
Jackson gave the advice while participating in the Violence Prevention Alliance’s online discussion titled ‘Peace in the Pandemic’ recently, where he was a member of a panel. The discussion was focused on how persons are coping with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as on sharing positive initiatives locally that are working throughout the worldwide pandemic with regard to conflict resolution.
He encouraged the older men in these communities to try to mentor the young boys and men as he pointed out that there is a disconnect in the communities between the elders and the youngsters.
“Now is the opportune time for the elders to be called upon for their knowledge and wisdom and become the teachers for the younger generation. There are many lessons to be learnt from the elders in how to build a community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Dave Hazle, lecturer in pastoral counselling and psychology at the United Technology College of the West Indies, underscored that the economic fallout has negatively impacted the men who are the breadwinners.
“One of the concerns is men who have been laid off and having to be at home, not earning, and there are increased demands at home, and so the challenge of feeling like they are the provider when they are unable to provide and because of the unpredictability of the pandemic, there has been anxiety in some men,” he shared.
Hazle, however, suggested that men should use the time to bond with their families and recommended that starting a backyard garden was an activity that could be undertaken to help families cope in the pandemic.
The discussion was held under the theme ‘Conversations with Men: Coping Through COVID-19’. The other sessions of the series examined the following topics: how women are coping during the pandemic, coping mechanisms for children in COVID-19, and community engagement and protecting vulnerable children.