Fifty-four year-old, Desmond Senior’s love affair with binding started some 25 years ago when he entered JAD Binders, to be trained in the craft of binding.
Years later, he has graduated to the post of “Senior Book Binder,” and trains new recruits in the craft. The father of two, says that having a skill in this area has assisted him to have a job; and made him financially independent, to provide for his family.
“As a deaf person, it was difficult to find employment; however, my skills in binding and sculpting paved the way for me to be employed,” he related.
Each morning, Mr Senior travels from St John’s Road in Spanish Town, St. Catherine to Papine in St. Andrew, to work. He is among the five members of staff who are employed to JAD Binders, a social enterprise that is owned and operated by the Jamaica Association for the Deaf.
Deniese Badroe, JAD’s director of business development, said that the social enterprise emerged as part of JAD’s strategy to sustain its programmes; and empower the deaf, through employment.
“JAD Binders continues to hold its own in a competitive binding industry by providing high quality, fine-hand binding and restoration services to its corporate and individual clients since 1994,” she explained, “And, although the binding industry is a small one, with less than 10 major players, positive differentiation in the market place is vital.”
She related that the key to the operations of the social enterprise is diversification of its business with different product lines, such as its journals, “Gratitude” and “Jamaican Proverb,” which are usually in demand by corporate clients; presentation binding of gift packages and presentation portfolios; thesis binding for students; as well as, memorabilia for weddings, anniversaries, birth of a baby and funerals.
JAD’s other products include preservation binding of newspapers, periodicals, manuals; and the restoration binding of heirloom bibles, treasured books and the creation of novelty products.
Among JAD Binders clients are the Norman Manley Law School, the universities and many companies in corporate Jamaica.
Ms Badroe informed that JAD developed other social enterprises to offset its operation expenses. These include JAD Hearing Services which provides hearing health care products and services including hearing assessments and noise plugs, and JSL Services which offers services in Jamaican Sign Language training and sign language interpreting.
She notes that one current challenge of JAD Binders is limited physical space for its operations, which inhibits its output expansion. However, the social enterprise is pursuing solutions to address this challenge.
JAD Binders, was one of several social enterprises which benefitted from the Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), a project of the JN Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
A social enterprise is an entity created primarily to address a social or environmental challenge by applying profit-making business practices to generate sustainable value that is beneficial to the community and the society.
“The JN Foundation, through SEBI, assisted us with our business plan and accounting procedures. Our quality control and accounting systems have improved due to our participation in the SEBI Incubator. In addition, we also benefited from increased visibility which helped to grow our clientele,” she said.
“The project provided opportunity for us to network with other social enterprises, which were outside of our industry, enabling us to further promote our products, which was really helpful,” she related.
Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said she was happy that JAD Binders was able to benefit from the work of the SEBI, which ended last year, after six years.
“When the JN Foundation envisioned the creation of SEBI, it was to enable social enterprises, such as JAD Binders, to be more efficient at generating profits so that they could re-invest some of that profit into the community to solve some of Jamaica’s most pressing social issues,” she said.
Mrs Barrett Scott said that JAD Binders produces quality products and provides meaningful employment for the deaf.
“I would urge everyone, especially corporate Jamaica, to support this enterprise, because they are providing meaningful employment for persons in a vulnerable group. When we purchase products from businesses such as JAD Binders, we are creating social good. This is therefore a call for everyone to buy social,” she implored.
JN Foundation through implementing SEBI was able to support 100 social enterprises, non-governmental organisations and community-based groups. The project also successfully guided 35 social enterprises in the generation of $186 million in revenue and the creation of 500 full-time jobs, over the past six years.
Ms. Badroe said persons can contact JAD Binders at 876- 977-5046 to order their products and access their services, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.