Motherless, Jobless But Not Hopeless – Kimani Searching For An Opportunity

Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel – after Jerusalem – and it is the financial and technological centre of the country.

In Jamaica, ‘Tel Aviv’ is a small area in central Kingston where poverty reigns; where illiteracy, crime, violence and hopelessness walk hand in hand.

It’s where decades-old gang wars set danger lines, which prevent people from walking freely. Where no-man’s-land is any man’s land, and where danger is ever present.

Motherless and jobless, Kimani Thompson calls Tel Aviv home.

“Miss, I am 19 years old. I used to go to Holy Trinity (High) School. A leave when a 16. A didn’t do CXC. Me did just deh a school a bad, and dem ting deh yes. A gi we self trouble. But I was doing well enough, for the teachers dem to recommend me for CXC and to recommend fi graduate,” said Kimani at a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner with Unattached Youths forum in Rum Lane, last Wednesday.

“But, the way my family set up, when I really look in a it, I say, ‘If a do it and fail it, a would a burn up mi bredda money. If a do it, and pass it, it would a mek him happy,’ but I neva want take it an fail an let him down, so a neva take any,” added Kimani.

Now the 19-year-old could be regretting that decision as he struggles to find a job as he moves into adulthood.

“I need work. If a have a work yah now, mi would a much better off. I love welding and a sign up to do it. But a would a do anything. Any office work, Miss,” he said almost pleadingly.

Kimani has had no educational opportunities, no skills training and no job in the last three years since he walked out of school.

Still, he would like a job in an office to do “anything”.

He said he has no children, is not wanted by the police and is not involved in any criminal activity. That may be his best qualification.

“I am waiting for a call to go to HEART (the national training programme). I am also on the CSJP (Citizen Security and Justice Programme) and also on the HOPE (Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment ) programme.

“I sign up for welding and carpentry and any of dem trade deh. I sign up for the CSJP now, about a year and half, but a just waiting on call,” added Kimani as he indicated that he is hopeful that “something might happen soon” because they took his shirt size.


“Miss, a don’t in a no trouble, but a don’t feel safe,” declared Kimani, as he added that he saw his mother murdered when he was just 10 years old.

He argued that in communities like Tel Aviv, the life of an individual could be snuffed out through baseless suspicion, or because of who your friends are.

Kimani is grateful for the peace which has held for the last two years in the community, but expressed concern that anything could trigger the violence.

“Illiteracy is rampant in here. Man, woman and children. Nuff youth like me can’t read or write. Dem not brain wise but dem street smart more than anything,” said Kimani.

“A whole a people go do carpentry. If you knock up something and show dem, dem can do the work. But if you put de same thing on paper, dem caan read it. Dem don’t understand how fi move from point A to point B. Miss, I just want an opportunity to be book smart and street smart. And I know I have what it takes to do betta dan dis,” declared Kimani.


  1. …so you didn’t take the exam because you didn’t know if you would pass ?
    What kind of nonsense is this I am hearing here ?

    Your family was poor, you came from nothing but you admitted to being ‘ bad in school “ and not putting your best foot forward.
    Now tell me, that is making any sense ?

    Illiteracy and poverty will always bring Jamaica to its knees.

    It is not just a Jamaican problem, but a Caribbean and even developed world problem, when the poor cannot see that when they have free educational or school opportunities and even to learn a trade, is to GRAB IT !

    We as Black people will never rise up till we put our house in order.

    I understand his predicament and I still willing to offer some kind of help, but it seems to me that he is very very WISE, BUT NOT BEING CLEVER.

  2. So sad.

    Jamaica is such a beautiful place, but the country has a big problem with deprivation cycles. People born into deprivation grow deprived then go onto have children who enter the same cycle.

    The government needs to focus on breaking these cycles- it really does start with the children. It is going to be a very big challenge, and will not be overcome overnight, but it is the only way forward.

    God Bless Jamaica.

  3. I can’t comment on this youth because I cannot imagine seeing my mother murdered at age 10. He was fighting his own demons in High school. I believe everyone deserves a second chance in life. Hope you get through to do the welding.

  4. To see your mother be murdered must have be traumatic for this youth. No guidance, motivation or encouragement. He was forced to grow up and make decisions while still being a child. This is sad because not even the teachers at his school believed in him. Hence, he left without a subject or even graduating.
    While HEART has good programs, I do believe we need more options for the young people of Jamaica. The waiting period for these institutions is ridiculous.
    I really hope he and many others get the help they are looking for. Everybody deserve a second chance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top