A week-long, (August 26-30) summer camp is being conducted to educate children who were victims of domestic violence and family violence to overcome the effect of this scourge.
The intervention is aimed at educating 30 children, between the ages of 9-15 years old about the phenomenon, where help is available and their rights and responsibilities as a child.
It was organised by the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO,) International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC,) and Tackling Child Labour Through Education (TACKLE). The camp got underway, this morning at the Guyana National Service (GNS) Sports Complex, Carifesta
The camp is being conducted under the theme, “Our Children, Our future” and the 30 children, are those who are vulnerable and are living under the umbrella of single parentage or with extended families, either because a mother, father or family member was murdered or is now incarcerated as a result of domestic violence and family violence.
Chief probation and Social Services Officer, Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Forbes Munroe told the children that the camp speaks of the ministries and its partners’ commitment to their wellbeing and development.
“This event here, is saying to you that there are people in this society who are going to be there for you, who will stand up for you, who will be mentors for you, who will be coaches for you,” Munroe told the children.
“Do not for one moment think that you are left out, you are not left out. Do not for one moment think you are stigmatised, marginalised, pushed in a corner,” he said.
Munroe pointed out that the stakeholders understand the hand that life has dealt them and the obstacles they face. “ It is our intention, even for those children who might be affected in one way or the other…we want to be standing with you, whatever the circumstances are,” he reassured.
He dubbed the summer camp a wonderful idea and expressed optimism that it will serve as a reminder to all, that it takes a community to raise a child.
“You are not responsible for the circumstances that you find yourselves in,” Project Coordinator, GOG, ILO, IPEC EU, TACKLE, Sharon Patterson told the children. She explained that over the next five days persons will sit with them and help them understand that greatness lies in each and every one of them.
Someone will work with them on building their self esteem, she said, and explained that a positive self esteem will help them to better understand their worth.
Patterson also advised them to stay in school as a way out of child labour and towards getting an education that will help them secure a decent job and a decent future. She also advised that reading is the gateway to knowledge.