The Human Services and Social Security Ministry through the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA), on Sunday, concluded activities in commemoration of Child Protection Week. Child Protection Week seeks to place emphasis on both the work of Child Protection Officers as well as the varying ways in which children suffer abuse.
It educates on what steps can be taken to protect abused children and how the system facilitates that. This year, Child Protection Week was observed under the theme “Together, Let’s Keep Children Safe” and ran from September 20-26.
Paula Nassy is one of the many Social Workers attached to the CCPA, who have been integral in protecting the nation’s children from all forms of abuse. Nassy has been working with the Agency for eight years now and she currently serves as a Senior Probation and Social Services Officer.
The 39-year-old believes that the work she does is very important to the well-being of the nation.
“I can’t say it was my dream career, growing up I wanted to become a lawyer; however, my time being a Child Protection Officer has created an impact not only in my life, but also in the lives of the persons I interact with on a daily basis and because of that it has become a career that chose me.
“The pandemic has created an impact in my field of work, dealing with clients makes you vulnerable and more exposed to contracting the deadly disease. The closure of schools has also silenced some of our children because they have no one to tell their stories to for them to get help. On the positive side, I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that despite of everything that’s happening, I can still be the voice of the voiceless,” Nassy said in a recent interview.
She grew up on the Corentyne (Region Six) with her family, and credits much of her childhood experiences for wanting to ensure that the children of Guyana live happy and healthy lives. She is the youngest of four children and has lived an exciting childhood.
“Growing up on the Corentyne with two elder brothers and a sister was much fun. I remember tagging along with my brothers and their friends on trips to the beach, especially on Easter Monday. I even played cricket with them, but mind you whenever it’s my turn to bat, they dare not take my wicket in the first few balls or I’m sure to continue batting until I am satisfied. They were great protectors and ensured I am always safe, even to this day they still look out for my best interest,” she said.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Guyana and has had the chance to participate in a number of professional development trainings. The highly-qualified Social Worker was first stationed in the CCPA’s Corriverton, Berbice office for seven and a half years and was recently transferred to the Charles and Broad Streets office in Georgetown.
“My department has been dealing with access cases and yes, there has been an increase in those cases during the pandemic. Challenges will always be there in any developing agency; however, high caseloads are one issue that has been present not only here in Guyana but worldwide,” Nassy added.
The Social Worker advises her colleagues to “take care of yourself, because if you are burnt out there is no way you will be effective in dealing with your clients; you must always remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup”.