In Observance of Child Protection week 2018 the Ministry of Social Protection and the Child Care and Protection Agency in Region Six, East Berbice-Corentyne, held a rally and awareness march on Tuesday. A similar event was also hosted in Linden in Region Ten on Monday.
The march commenced at the NDC building in Corriverton and culminated at Scottsburg Community Centre Ground. Scores of persons including school children, probation officers, social workers, teachers, healthcare workers, and community members marched along the public road with placards calling for an end to child abuse as they sought to raise awareness and educate society on the rights of children.
Delivering the feature address Administrator of Skeldon Hospital Shurla Scott underscored the importance of community involvement in breaking the silence against child abuse. She emphasized that the community must seek to support the process, thereby assuring that no child is affected.
“Our children must be able to recognize that the community in which they live, has a voice against child abuse and that no one is above the law. Our children are not only our future, but they are also out present. Today, we are encouraged to link arms and break the silence against child abuse.”
President of St Francis Community Developers, Alex Foster during his remarks referred to the famous “It takes a village to raise a child” as symbolic of the role of the community in raising children.
“CPW week not only gives the opportunity to think about children who are abused it gives all of us the unique opportunity to consider our situation and when we do so we must be able as a community to get “mad” and when we get mad as a community we know we will see results at all levels”. Foster continued, “As we celebrate with the entire world we should build strong children so that they, who are the future can take their rightful place today in our world.”
Foster also called on the stakeholders to make addressing the issue of child abuse a priority.
Mayor of Corriverton, Krishnand Jaichand stated the government has upheld the sanctity of the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration on Rights of a Child Convention of which Guyana is a signatory. Hence, agencies such as the Childcare and Protection Agency were implemented to overlook the policies aimed at enforcing child protection strategies.
“These children are our responsibility. We have to ensure they are loved, cherished, cared, protected, respected and given an environment conducive for optimal growth and development as they mature into adulthood.”
Child Protection Week is being observed under the theme “Supporting Families to prevent child abuse through education and community involvement”.
Story and Images: Nafeeza Sakur.