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IBRIE Foundation

Our Story Patrons & Founder

Patrons

IBRAIE was founded to honour the legacy of two great women born and raised in the rural parish of St Mary Jamaica – Iris Bruff and Inet Effs, the grandmother and mother of our Founder Romeo Effs. As he describes them “two of the most influential people in his life and women who made an impact and changed the in the community of Barclay Town which they grew up. They both have huge hearts and would gladly give away the last gram of salt, if they believed it would help their neighbours”.

Inett Jane Effs

“My mother, a tower of strength, a dynamic and courages woman who gives everything to her family, her students and her community to ensure they succeed, who believes in equality and justice, and who engage with people regardless of their status. A phenomenal woman who over came tremendous adversity on the death of her husband and took the reins of her family becoming a single parent and raising 5 amazing world changing children.”

 

Besides her full time role as a teacher and mother, she could be found in the community organising netball clubs for local girls, being involved in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission as a local parish representative, organising local cultural events and preparing participants for national cultural competitions in creative dancing, drama, and organising local choirs. She is prolific cook and taught home economics skills to local women. Sh also ran the governments local adult education classes (known as Jamal at the time), teaching adults to read and write’.

 

Romeo believes that he gets his work ethic, his generosity, drive and determination to give back and leave a legacy from his mother. She exposed him to the importance of the arts and culture which later helped him in his corporate life in the UK. His steely determination as a leaders and the courage to face and overcome any obstacle are all traits be believes are instilled in him by his mother. It is evident why Education, Experimental Culture and Equality are some of the key focus areas for the foundation.

 

Iris Jane Bruff (1920-2007)

“My grandmother and matriarch of the family, was a phenomenal woman – a believer in God, a super carer and giver, foster parent, community leader, naturally talented dress maker, mother, grandmother and wife”.

 

She was responsible for eight grandchildren and she fostered many other children from other villages and towns. On the death of Romeo’s father when he was just a 9 year old boy, his family lost everything. His grandmother took him and his 4 siblings in, so his mother could focus on moving to a bigger school some distance away where she could earn more to care for the family. She poured all she had in Romeo and his siblings and all the other children she had in the small home she had selflessly. She was a talented seamstress, who was self taught and did everything the traditional way by hand and with her foot pedal sewing machine. She used to get Romeo involved in these activities which he performed proudly.

 

Romeo believes the experience of growing up with his grandmother taught him valuable skills such as creativity, innovation, patience, how to deal with customers and was his first exposure to the world of entrepreneurship.  It’s one of the reasons he has established the foundation her honour and focus on areas such as Creative Economy, Innovation and Empowered Leadership.

 

The foundation is her honour and her legacy. Iris May Bruff would have been 100 years old on the official launch date of this website – Jan 20, 2020.

Doing the right thing, at the right time.

500

YOUNG PEOPLE IMPACTED

44

VOLOUNTEERS

4

YOUTH LEADERSHIP ACADEMIES

7

CAUSES

Founder

Romeo Effs

Growing up poor, in rural Jamaica, Romeo had to learn from a young age to think outside the box, if he wanted to succeed. Power, purpose, and determination lead him to where he is today and now he wants to share the skills learned from his youth with other disadvantaged youths around the globe. His message is clear, if you dream you can do something it can become reality, no matter the barriers or obstacles. His philanthropy has touched many lives and continues to grow with the support of donors.

Charitable Works

Since the start of his professional career Romeo has been an advocate for the youth, becoming the youngest ever General Secretary of Young Jamaica, the political youth arm of the Jamaica Labor Party. This position allowed him to travel the world while representing Jamaica at global youth conferences and forums, meeting heads of state, Presidents, Prime Ministers and business leaders. He was also instrumental in forming a number of Caribbean based youth and political organisations. Romeo went on to become Director of Special Projects for Food for the Poor, the largest charity in the Caribbean based in Florida. Romeo worked at Food for the Poor for two years travelling the poorer regions of the Caribbean; countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Dominica, providing food and clothing, building and equipping houses, schools, community centres and hospitals for the poor. Romeo has also held the position of trustee with Jamaica Basic School Foundation and Mangia867, a charity for abused girls.

Professional Career

Romeo holds a dual Master’s degree in Supply Chain, Finance and Trade from Cass Business School, a BBA in International Management from the University of North Florida, BA from University College of the Caribbean and numerous other Executive certifications. He is currently studying Strategy at the Said Business School, Oxford University and is a member of numerous professional bodies.

 

Romeo has founded and held the position of chairmen with RSPE Group, EFAB Cleaners, Yardie Clothing Company, Yard in Events Management Ltd., VIP Car Service Ltd, Sylvestor Bus Company, Real Jamaica Experience Tours Ltd., Flex Corporation, and Reliable Trucking & Logistics Ltd and also has been the executive producer of several box office and short films. Apart from his individual endeavors Romeo has held multiple top level positions within prestigious companies including Tropical Airlines, MITIE Group Plc, Rosslyn Analytics, Accenture, AG Barr, ARC systems Ltd, Air Jamaica Express, and BWIA International.

Romeos Childhood Home

Our Focus

We work with young people from underserved communities, empowered them to bring bold ideas to life to have a big impact in their communities and change the world for good.

About Us

We believe that creativity through arts and culture, rises above language, class, religion, gender, and other factors that currently divide our world.