The TBWG was founded in September of the year 2000 under the auspices of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, and with the help of a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Ann Wilson. Our mission statement is “to promote the advancement of women and the Treasure Beach community as a whole, through education, income producing projects, and awareness of women’s health and women’s issues”.


In the year 2001 the TBWG started plans to build a craft workshop/meeting place. Members of the group sought out a location for the building. Mr. Ralph James donated a piece of land located on Old Wharf Rd. for the building site. In April we got as far as laying the foundation. But then the rains came and the foundation was underwater as the location of the land was right next to Great Pond. The group had to abandon that site and the James family donated a new high and dry site to TBWG. We began work on the second foundation. Once the foundation was complete the organization, Food ForThe Poor, donated the wooden structure to stand on the foundation which became the home of our craft shop and meeting place.


It was in a yard at Calabash Bay that Ann Wilson first started experimenting with the Calabash (Gourd) found growing on local trees as an idea for a craft item-the idea was refined and production truly began in the Craft Shop.

It was within this craft shop that our signature product, the Starlight, a dome shaped globe (made from calabash or clay) was created. The Starlight is painted in bright Caribbean colors with scenes typical of St. Elizabeth. When the dome is placed over a tea-light candle, light shines out through the stars, windows and doors that have been cut out of the gaily painted Jamaican-style houses. The Starlight has become a favorite souvenir for visitors to the area. The Starlight is also given as trophies at the Annual Treasure Beach Triathlons, and often purchased with custom designs by local guesthouse owners to give as gifts to their guests. The Starlights have been sold in Negril, Montego Bay and Mandeville as well as Treasure Beach.

Through the mentoring of Dr. Glenda Sims, and the hard work of Peace Corps Volunteer, Ann Wilson, we became acquainted with the St. Helena’s Women’s Group, a group of ladies from the hilly areas of Stanmore/Retrieve. These ladies practice the traditional art of basket weaving, and have combined the Calabash (Gourd) with basket weaving and created the Cala-basket. Their craft objects are sold in our craft shop, and we share space whenever we are exhibiting at craft fairs, and events.

With us nicely settled in our new home and the Starlight in full production, we were very happy with the progress we had made and were full of future plans. Then in September of 2004 Hurricane Ivan, a category 5 hurricane, came along and totally destroyed our little home. There was nothing left but a few loose boards and memories of what was.


Not to be deterred, thanks in great part to the direction of Patty Shannon our Peace Corp Volunteer at the time, we sought ways and means to rebuild. We heard of a matching fund program which the National Commercial Bank was offering, and paired that with applying for monies through The United Way of Jamaica, and assistance from USAID. With this assistance and a great deal of financial donations sent in by many past visitors and residents, we could start the rebuilding process. This, too, was a daunting proposition as we decided to not only build the new group house out of cement, but to make it bigger and better. A temporary craft and meeting location was donated to us by Jason Henzell from Jakes/BREDS, while we rebuilt.

Our great friends Janet & Erik MacPeek stepped in by bringing a group of their friends who all were either masons, carpenters, or just plain hard workers from America to Treasure Beach for two weeks volunteering their time and expertise. They paired up with a group of local masons and carpenters sponsored by another dear friend Lisa Ginzel, and started the rebuilding process. So much work, but boy did we all have fun. Relationships were made during those two weeks that are still strong today. Marblue Domicil and Villa Suites stepped in by donating architectural design assistance, a plumber, electrician, and floor tiles for the entire house. Various other businesses donated materials, labor, or funding and out of many, one fabulous new group house was created!

The ribbon cutting ceremony held August 2005 was indeed a proud day for the TBWG. Since being in our new home we have held various fund raisers, meetings, seminars, health clinics, yard sales, and so much more. And our group house is the location for our very popular Treasure Hunt Craft Shop.


In April of 2010 VETO, a non-profit organization from Quebec, Canada, responded to the needs of the Treasure Beach Women's Group, by first raising funds and then coming down working with members of the community helped to renovate the TBWG house. The volunteers of VETO are students that have had learning difficulties in school, one of the goals of the VETO project is to help the students develop self esteem, and self confidence. Many thanks to VETO for "prettying up de place!"

In September, 2010 we celebrated our 10th birthday. This occasion was aptly marked by a grand party at the group house. We took the opportunity to look back on many milestones and achievements and to challenge ourselves by making future goals, tasks, and accomplishments.

Our Treasure Hunt Craft Shop has just been reorganized which has increased the marketing, sales, and visibility of our Jamaican made crafts and their artists making it bigger and better than ever. Within the last two years we've added regular craft workshops and formed a sewing program providing income to the participants; added a computer lab with 10 new laptop computers and subsequently held computer classes open to the community; are holding literacy classes utilizing the new computers; created the group called The Treasure Beach Girls Group who perform for various special events and have participated in the Jamaica Cultural Development Committee competition (JCDC); and we are happy to report our home has held up to 5 subsequent hurricanes with minor to no damage being reported.


Our goals for the future include . . . . .
  • Continued leadership training for TBWG members
  • Starting a local Theatre Group
  • Creation of a historical exhibition with historical stories and artifacts
  • Continuing to develop literacy programs
  • Creating and funding a 2 year position of a Project Coordinator – as a means of capacity building and sustaining our many projects
  • Continuing and improving our existing projects and community outreach
  • Expansion to our current location thanks to additional land donated by the James family.
  • Creation of a small and new business incubator program, with administrative support
  • Educational workshops from our computer lab
  • Continue to work closely with other community organizations to enhance the beauty and community spirit of Treasure Beach

The TBWG would not be where it is today without the dedication and support of so many. We would like to thank all the outstanding members of our support group from organizations to individual donors for always being there in various capacities including donations of goods, time, expertise, financial support and just plain dedication and loyalty to The Treasure Beach Women's Group and our community.

The Treasure Beach Women's Group - TBWG; 876-965-3878;;
Calabash Bay P.A., St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, West Indies

Funding for this website was provided by the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP), a joint initiative of the Government of Jamaica and the European Union and by The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), in conjunction with World Bank and Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI). Views expressed in this product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the PSDP, JSIF, World Bank or REDI.