Oracabessa Foundation: Catalyst for Sustainable Development

Oracabessa Foundation

The Oracabessa Foundation was established in 1995 by Chris Blackwell to be a catalyst for the sustainable development of Oracabessa and its environs. Today, the Foundation is working towards three main impacts:

More People Working

Employment is a major concern for persons in and around Oracabessa. Unfortunately, many do not have the skills necessary to find meaningful work. The Foundation is addressing this gap with two vocational training projects.

The H.E.A.R.T. Training Centre in Jacks River is a partnership between the Foundation, the community of Jacks River and Jamaica’s national vocational training agency – HEART Trust NTA. The Centre trains local students in either Housekeeping or Food & Beverage Waitering for entry into the hotel industry. To date, the school has certified 265 persons with 45% of those students currently employed within the industry.


The Foundation’s “A Ganar” Youth Training Programme focuses on youth at risk and uses the sport of football (soccer) to teach workplace skills. Students spend 24 weeks in the program and gain a vocational skill and do work experience in the local hotel industry.

A Healthy Bay

The sea plays an integral role in the life of Oracabessa. Whether earning a livelihood through fishing or simply enjoying an early morning swim before starting a hectic day, everyone in Oracabessa is connected to the sea. Unfortunately, the rich environmental heritage of Oracabessa Bay has been under threat.


In 2010 the Oracabessa Foundation began a partnership with the St. Mary Fisherman’s Cooperative to establish the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary to rebuild the health of the Bay. Since then:

  • Coral cover increased 47%
  • Algae cover decreased 24%
  • Fish Density increased 42%
  • Fish Biomass increased 282%
  • Size of Fish increased 15%

In addition, well over 10,000 sea turtles hatch from within he sanctuary each year.

Positive, Engaged Youth

The Oracabessa Foundation has long used sport as a tool to reach local youth. Today the Foundation organizes a number of projects including:

  • Primary School sports leagues which involve over 500 children per year
  • All-Star Football teams which train young players for selection onto Parish and National Teams
  • The Jumpball Basketball Programme which teaches the fundamentals of basketball to over 600 players each summer
  • The first BMX racing track in the English speaking Caribbean
  • The Caribbean Coaching Certification Programme for developing local coaching talent

Please contact us if you want to know more about our Programmes and work we do.

Thank you for your outreach & support. We are relieved to report that we’ve been spared by Hurricane Beryl & look forward to welcoming you!