Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Selena Ayala—
Located in a tiny coffee-farming village called Settlement in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, Lil Raggamuffin Summercamp is no ordinary summer program. Started by local girl-gone-farin Zebi Williams, who returned home to start the camp when she was just 18 herself, it operates more like a long-term mentorship and community-development program. Each summer, a team of volunteer young professionals in creative fields such as film/video production, fashion design, music, dance, poetry and other disciplines, many of them Jamaicans living abroad, serve as counselors and role models for 125 local kids, from age four all the way up to 19. As Zebi, a jewelry designer herself, explains it, by “demystifying the process of entrepreneurship and using technology to help bring the global marketplace to the rural landscape” the camp seeks to inspire its young charges to grow into artisans ready to start a business. A feature-length movie, …The Harder They Fall, has even been made by camp film counselors, starring campers in the lead roles.
Model and Lil Raggamuffin counselor Selena Ayala has taken some striking photos of the camp, which really capture the unique spirit of the place. Click through the photos below for a picture of what Lil Raggamuffin is all about, find out more about the program here and, most importantly, donate here—the camp is in need of $3,500 to cover costs for this summer’s camp, Aug. 6 through 11. Give if you can, they’ve got just seven days to reach their goal!