Sophia benefitting from Help & Shelter’s child protection project

From Kaieteur News 2 May, 2011
As more and more laws become established to promote and protect the rights of children, the Help and Shelter organization along with the Child-care Protection Agency (CPA) has embarked on sensitising the public through community based projects about the various forms of child abuse and the necessary steps which should be taken to address issues related to this.

According to Project Officer, Vidyaratha Kissoon, the Help and Shelter organization has over the years been targeting projects which are based on child and domestic abuse, therefore seeing the need of having an organised community-based child protection agency at various locations in Guyana.
He explained that children are the ones who suffer the most in abusive families, yet they are the ones who lack the resources or opportunities of obtaining help or counseling to deal with the matter(s) or even report them.
Kissoon said that the 2nd community launch of the Help & Shelter’s child protection project in Sophia yesterday, is testimony to the organization’s aim at curbing and eliminating such issues, and that the Pattensen Multi-purpose Centre located at Lot 1000 “B” Field, Sophia was the ideal place to host such an event or activity related to child protection.
Project Coordinator, Colin Marks, opened his remarks by saying “Child Protection involves a whole host of players”.
He stated that programmes at the counseling level have already been introduced to Sophia at the Nursery and Special Needs Schools, while projects have already been launched at Zeelugt and Hague, Region Three and Good Hope, Region Four, where the communities can now make reports concerning child abuse and counseling can also be accessed through the centres at these locations.
Marks emphasised that his organisation is continuously disseminating literary and non-literary information, focusing on the rights of children and tackling child abuse in the forms of pamphlets, posters, working “one on one” with parents and children, the latter being essential to impact on the required target groups.
The Project Coordinator further stated that in Region Three, there was a large response from the Islamic Community at their Masjids (Mosques) where sessions and discussions were held with Muslim brothers and sisters concerning child protection.
He added that one of the main aims of the project is to form a coalition with persons, communities, groups, organisations and Ministries which will gather “good response” to child protection issues. Shop owners are also expected to work hand-in-hand with the police in communities since many times under-aged children are seen frequenting their shops/ stores purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.
This project was first launched at Zeelugt, Region Three, on February 11, and to date it has resulted in three children benefiting from foster care.

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