Who Is Gabrielle Davida Gay?
Can you imagine being a young Black girl from a small village on a tiny island of Barbados in the Caribbean: but with a “crazy”, impossible dream to change the world via Education? Can you imagine pursuing that dream no matter what, even when faced with tough obstacles and tribulations? Can you imagine the crushing sadness felt others told you, a little girl, that your ideas could never work; simply because they were never done before? Then you have imagined the life of Gabrielle Gay: Founder of The Erline Bradshaw Foundation, and Barbados’ and the Caribbean’s most revolutionary Education Programmes of their kind.
Gabrielle Gay has always been an avid reader. At the tender age of five she had read most of the beloved classics e.g. Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the Royal Readers etc. By the age of 10 years old, she captivated the nation of Barbados and audiences abroad with her logical and intelligent opinion on the Voice of Barbados Call In Programme ‘Thomas on Thursday’ hosted by Thomas “Tom” Fields, where she was fondly known as ‘Tom’s Gabby’, later being honoured as the “Outstanding Child of the Year”; on V.O.B. 92.9 FM. She also was active in her church activities at this young age, preaching at various churches throughout the island and singing with her church’s Hosanna Chorale. Gabrielle Gay is the daughter of David and Margaret Gay, who are both Medical Professionals. She attended the private schools of the Seventh Day Adventist Primary and Secondary.
At 13 years old she sat her first Caribbean Examination Council’s exam, attaining a Grade 1 with a distinction in the subject of English Language. By the age of 15, she achieved the remainder of her CXC and A Level subjects with distinction. She entered the Barbados Community College to study English Literature and Sociology. Her academic prowess continued when she attained the highest grade point average in English Literature in the college. For this achievement, she along with three others, received the John Wickham Scholarship for Excellence in English Literature.That same week, she also won the National Youth Award for Community Service from the Ministry of Education for her Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Programme. She is also the JCI Barbados National Public Speaking Champion 2017. Ms. Gabrielle Gay is an avid Final Year Bachelors of Law Student at the University of the West Indies Cavehill Campus.
Gabrielle founded the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Mentorship Programme at just 13 years old, in just five schools by patiently saving up her meager allowance. It developed quickly over the past decade; it has now reached and been implemented in over 118 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across Barbados, the Caribbean, and the world. The Programme promotes Literacy and Mental Health via their Awards, coupled with reading and Leadership Mentorship sessions in schools. It partners with Learning Psychologists to mentor remedial readers and give parents assistance, NGOs, and corporate entities to donate books for libraries. The Programme pays school tuitions, and buys uniforms and shoes for students in Sierra Leone, India, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Malawi, and Vanuatu. The Programme is the first, longest running and most awarded of its kind in Barbados and the Caribbean. It is the only Barbadian Education Programme in the country’s entire 54 year history, to be honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in the prestigious 2018 Queens Young Leaders Award Programme for its pioneering work in Education across the Commonwealth. Gabrielle Gay made history in 2020 as the first ever and only Barbadian to be selected as a certified World Literacy Foundation Ambassador: chosen from among 4,800 shortlisted applicants of the best in Literacy worldwide. She and her fellow Ambassadors partnered with the World Literacy Foundation to reach and lift over 400,000 children out of poverty via Education in Columbia.
Nationally; it is also the first and only Education Programme to be honoured by the government of Barbados in 2009 with a National Youth Award for exemplary service to the community. Her record breaking contributions to Education and history continue; as in 2018 The Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Bachelors of Literatures in English became the first ever award for the Bachelors Degree in Literatures in English, in the seventy year history of the University of The West Indies Cavehill Campus. It also is the only award for the Major of English Literature at the Barbados Community College.Therefore, it has effectively become the highest ranking award programme for Literatures in English in Barbados. The Programme is also the largest of its kind: with Global and Regional project partners and implementation in the Caribbean and every continent of the world. In March 2021, Gabrielle Gay made history in the UWI Law Faculty as the first Law Student to receive University of The West Indies Cavehill Law Society Inaugural Presidents Award. This award is given to an individual within the Law Faculty who demonstrates exceptional leadership in and outside of academia, with particular focus on humanitarian work and efforts. She was awarded for her trailblazing work in Education for Barbados and beyond.
Gabrielle made history for Education yet again in June 2021, as she became the Barbados Ambassador to the OECS. Carefully chosen from among 250 of the best in Youth Leadership worldwide, this is the first time an Education Programme and organisation of this kind, has been chosen by the Organisation of The Eastern Caribbean States, for the final twenty seven leaders of the prestigious OECS SMD Ambassador Cohort 2021. She further made history along with her peers, as one of the first ever Caribbean Climate Justice Project Youth Parliamentarians: passing the first and only complete 2021 Climate Justice Resolution of its kind to come out of the Caribbean. She has since commenced two new programmes: The Femme Lex and Femme STEM Cohorts, where young women from Small Island Developing States, developing countries, and marginalised communities within developed countries: are given access to certified mentorship, mental health, education, internship and advancement opportunities in the fields of Law and STEM. Born as a response to the Education divide exacerbated by the pandemic, and an overarching global need for SIDS focused Governance: The Femme Lex Cohort is the first ever, and only certified legal Mentorship entrepreneurship Programme connecting young female law and politics students from SIDS and marginalized communities to mentorship and internship in legal specialties such as Climate Justice, and certifying them in critical Sustainable Conscious Entrepreneurship skills with the Barbados Youth Business Trust. The Ambassadors then create actionable policy outputs to support Justice in the Caribbean and around the world.
The Femme STEM Cohort also created history for Financial Technology and Education in 2022 by partnering with technology expert and Education Engineer of Mr. Sam Ahn of the prestigious Stony Brook School to host global educational workshops this past Spring! The FSC Ambassadors were made privy to exclusive hands-on sessions learning about social entrepreneurship and NFT Crypto Currencies. The Workshop Academy doubled as a Virtual Exchange Programme uniting students in FinTech learning from: Barbados, America, Japan, United Kingdom, China, Guyana, Ireland, St. Vincent & Grenadines, South Africa, Togo, Niger and South Korea. At the Erline Bradshaw Foundation, Gabrielle and the team are humbled to do their part to ensure Financial Technology is commonplace in Education in Barbados and the Caribbean, and across the world! Gabrielle is the first ever Barbados Environment Conservation Trust Ambassador 2022. She is also the current Strategic Advisor - Policy and Advocacy of The Caribbean Regional Youth Council 2022-24. Gabrielle also recently made history again for Education, as she was selected by the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme’s Archipelagic Island States Forum (AIS Forum). She is the first ever Barbadian AIS Forum Youth Ambassador, selected for her trailblazing work in Education and the promulgation of Climate Justice with The Femme Lex Cohort. In 2023, Gabrielle was selected by the United Nations Barbados and OECS for the prestigious United Nations Youth Advisory Group which provides the United Nations with practical and outcome-focused advice, diverse youth perspectives and concrete recommendations, with a clear focus on accelerating the implementation of the 2030 UN agenda.
One of Gabrielle’s key methodologies to positively impact the Youth and Education, is social media. She has an enormous online presence of over 110,000+ followers across social media. To date, Gabrielle reaches over 121,000+ Barbadians weekly, and over 630,000+ individuals globally (Caribbean, America, UK, Canada etc) making her a powerful asset of positive influence for any organization or brand she partners with. She has expertly consulted, created content for, and worked with global entities such as the WTO, Fintech Islands, United Nations, UNDP AIS Forum, Disney, JORD Watches, Robert Half, ThreadTank, Fox TV, United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, U-Report, Colgate Palmolive and more! Gabrielle has also been featured in multiple local and global magazines, 30 Under 30 Lists and more.
Gabrielle is truly the embodiment of an Education Revolutionary and Youth Philanthropist in Education. She possessesover 18 years of proven track records of innovation and success in Education. While challenges no doubt are a part of this incredible heart-filled journey: she will always keep fighting and is open to partnerships toward the support for the critical work of The Erline Bradshaw Foundation, particularly in this dire post-COVID19 era. She is testament that with God, determination, a strong family and friends support system, and genuine love for Education: a little girl from a small village, in the tiny island of Barbados, CAN change the world through Education and Positivity.
Gabrielle is committed to revolutionizing Education and perpetually influencing society for the better, for years to come!