Fri | Sep 29, 2023

Tahje Wallen – In the interest of the youth

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2023 | 12:33 AMPaul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer
Tahje Wallen enjoying himself at the recent Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards for Excellence, held on the lawns of Jamaica House.
Tahje Wallen enjoying himself at the recent Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards for Excellence, held on the lawns of Jamaica House.

Tahje Wallen was bitten severely by the education bug. In addition to a ton of certificates he has received from local and international institutions, including the World Bank, the Mona High School alumnus also has a diploma in supply chain management, and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Technology, Jamaica.

But, the 24-year-old ACCA Level I and II accountant who works in the civil service is not just sitting on his laurels in his own little corner. He has been spreading his knowledge through Youth Education Association (YEA) since 2020. YEA is a registered charitable organisation that “focuses on assisting students educationally, socially, and in personal development by providing services, equipment, workshops, treats, and other activities that will aid in their holistic development and academic journey to achieve their goals”, he told The Gleaner.


But, his passion to share what he knew was ignited from his high-school days, when he would assist his peers with their principles of accounts, office administration, and mathematics, as well as with their school-based assessments. In lower-sixth form, he was given the opportunity to teach principles of accounts, office administration, and principles of business in the absence of teachers.

At university, the assistance continued in his “strong courses”.

Youth Education Association was formed by Tahje Wallen at the end of his university sojourn with his two older sisters, two teachers at Mona High School, a friend he met at high school, and friends he met at university. Its vision is “to be a leading educational non-profit organisation that drives and enables the youth in Jamaica and the Caribbean to function optimally in a diverse society and contribute to nation-building”.

So far, it has offered free CSEC and CAPE ‘marathon’ classes, youth development workshops, university application sessions, motivational talk and breakfast, reading workshops, financial literacy workshops, work experience programme, panel discussions with university students’ unions and guilds and youth groups, and a higher-education conference, in collaboration with UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development India. It has partnerships with several companies in Jamaica that are repeated donors and sponsors for their events.

Wallen said the organisation is now in need of sponsors and title sponsors for their activities and projects. “We would like to have members that are willing and trainable on the team to execute the association’s projects. Personally, I would like to receive a scholarship to start my master of science in international professional accounting (ACCA) at Birmingham City University, which is slated to start September 2023,” the 2022 Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence in Nation-Building nominee shared.

As the executive director of YEA, he has received awards from other youth organisations and a school. They are certificate of appreciation from St Jude’s Primary School for the donation of tablets; certificate of excellence from Live, Love, Laugh Youth Foundation for Outstanding Contribution in 2021 Youth Making Impact Feature; certificate of appreciation from St Catherine Municipal Corporation; Certificate of Outstanding Contribution to Development from Aspirar Jamaica; and Outstanding Executive Director Award for two consecutive years.

As for being nominated for the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence in National-Building, the future certified forensic accountant told The Gleaner, “I am pleased that my work has been recognised by my peers … I am elated that my work is recognised by the prime minister … Also, that I get the opportunity for the second time to attend the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence ceremony with other nominees in their respective fields. This is just the beginning of the journey, because I am passionate about serving the youth.”

Wallen is also a founding member of the Caribbean Risk and Disaster Management Youth Platform (CARIDIMA YP) from March to August 2021. His duties included, but were not limited to, leading the communication team to fulfil the communication section of the CARIDIMA proposal to UNESCO; drafting the communication proposal; reviewing and making changes to the CARIDIMA YP proposal; creating the ‘call for expression’ form for the executive committee; leading the recruitment in the shortlisting, interviewing and selection processes; participating in a discussion about the future of CARIDIMA YP; and leading the process of submission and voting for the CARIDIMA YP logo.