ZebadiJah Maxwell
ZebadiJah Maxwell

Dominica's House of Nyabinghi youth arm representative, ZebadiJah Maxwell, has vowed to continue her representation of the country's youth to the best of her ability.

Maxwell, an 18-year-old second-year student of the Dominica State College (DSC), told The Sun her position as the Waitukubuli Nyabinghi House representative during the recently held Youth Parliament was very rewarding.

"I was representing the Rastafarian Community. Being able to represent the Rastafarian youth is very meaningful. Right now, I am a voice that can help youth in what they want to do," Maxwell said.

Training for and participation in the Youth Parliament was an extremely valuable exercise for Maxwell, and she plans to use the skills and knowledge gained to further her cause as a champion for the youth.

"National Youth Parliament was a great experience and I was very proud to participate. The preparation phase taught me about parliamentary procedure. I received a wide range of experience," she said.

This second-year DSC student is currently majoring in computer science and information technology (IT). She describes this mix as the best of both worlds. "When you look at Computer Science versus Information Technology, they are the best of both worlds," Maxwell said. "Computer Science is about building computers and programmes and I.T refers to troubleshooting those computers, networks, databases, etc."

Welcoming girls and women to IT

These areas of study have historically been seen as male-dominated. However, Maxwell says this landscape is slowly but surely changing to welcome more women and girls onto the playing field.

"As time changes we see more and more women going into this field and they are incredible; very intelligent individuals and they have been very successful. They are very good role models for me," she added.

Maxwell, who keeps herself busy with two academic majors and being a voice for the youth, is also wrapping up an internship with Jolly's Pharmacy.

"Learning so many details and doing my research right now I feel like I am on the right path," Maxwell said. "The internship has me using all the knowledge I acquired in the classroom and putting it to use."

This is not the only way in which ZebadiJah incorporates her computer science and IT skills in daily life. She is a co-founder of WePlanet, a social enterprise geared at promoting eco-friendly decisions among the public to create a climate-resilient Caribbean.

"We are now beta testing the app which we want to use to help reduce the use of plastic bags, containers, straws, etc and help to ensure consumers bring their reusable bags when they shop. We want to show that small actions can bring big changes," Maxwell added.

In addition to school work, youth council duties, and completing her internship, Maxwell also gives back to her community of Tarreau.

"I assist and participate in activities and events of the TCPA, the Tarreau Consumers Protection Association, a community-based group", she added.

Being goal-oriented, hardworking, and enthusiastic ZebajiJah has come to recognize one of the main issues which affect her peers and plans to take up this cause and bring it to the table of those who can make a difference.

"The main concern right now is jobs because I was conversing earlier with my friends and colleagues who say Dominica does not have enough jobs. So I said 'why not create the opportunity ourselves?'" she said.

Maxwell is encouraging youth to have a positive mindset moving forward to help realize their dreams.

"Say I can and I will, instead of saying 'I think'," she said. "I believe if you want to achieve something you can, so you set your mind to it and don't limit yourself to 'I can't'."

As well as pursuing higher education and certification in her chosen field, Zebadijah's future plans include continually meeting with her peers to find out the problems which affect them most and champion their cause to the powers that be.