What about the children?

first_imgDear Editor,Over the past weeks, we have seen an increasingly alarming trend in Guyana. What started out as a violent threat on social media directed at The School of The Nations, quickly escalated into the shooting and wounding of Principal of the said school Dr O’Toole, forcing the school to close for one week. Subsequently, came shooting threats at Queen’s College, Bishops’ High and Mae’s. There were also two bomb threats to The University of Guyana in two days, leading to suspended classes for both days, and another bomb threat at the Office of the Ombudsman.Against this background, The Caribbean Voice (TCV) is somewhat concerned that the Guyana Police Force sees “no significant threat from warnings to various educational institutions”. What about the children? Surely the police are not simply dismissing the mental health fallout?For one, a sense of security is lost. School is the second home for our children and they no longer feel safe. The trauma is real and widespread because students are not psychologically prepared. They are fearful. They are confused. Some are discouraged and have become demotivated. Many have had sleepless nights and those that sleep have nightmares. Parents and students are of the view that not enough has been done since then to assist them to return to a sense of normalcy. TCV is aware of all of this because we have been talking to parents and students.A holistic approach is required to ensure that students not only heal but also that schools are prepared to proactively deal with issues of this nature. The Caribbean Voice is happy that the Mobile Mental Health Unit of the Education Ministry was deployed but was the services offered to all the schools affected? Will there be follow-ups to ensure that individual students who remain traumatic are offered counselling therapy? Going forward, will entire student bodies be provided with coping skills and mechanisms? Will schools nationwide be trained to respond to such threats through regular drills that focus on strategies like soft and hard lockdowns and evacuation procedures? Will Police be armed with the capacity for rapid response nationwide?For years TCV has been calling for counsellors in schools to assist students to better cope with whatever challenges they face on a daily basis in and out of school. Such placement has become even more urgent now. Also, The Caribbean Voice again offers our youth and student workshop to the Education Ministry. At previous meetings with Ministry officials, promises were made to integrate our workshop into the Health and Family Life Curriculum. We are still awaiting fulfilment of this promise.Finally, the Education Ministry should mandate all schools to set up threat response teams comprising parents, staff and other related personnel that should be trained to quickly act in such eventualities. At least one school affected by the recent threats has already done so. The global village has now encompassed Guyana in its unsavoury fold and our nation must not find itself wanting in its responsibility to protect our children every which way.Sincerely,The Caribbean Voicelast_img read more

HOTT FM Donates Modern Latrine to Kpallah Community

first_imgThe management of HOTT FM 107.9 radio station has over the years tried to identify with its fans across Liberia. On several occasions, the station has single-handily donated food, school supplies, hygienic supplies and other necessities to the needy.Lately, HOTT FM’s CEO Bernard Benson (a.k.a. DJ Blue) and staff have again over the week helped those in need by listening to their cry. “We have played a major role in making sure we sanitize people about the dangers of Ebola. And we were also responsible for the ‘Ebola is real’ song that made the whole world realize that Ebola is real,” stated DJ Blue.Members of the Kpallah community, Brewerville, outside of Monrovia, appealed to HOTT FM ’s management that a toilet was urgently needed.In response to the request, HOTT FM dedicated a modern four-stall latrine.“We see it necessary to help, especially when a person is in need,” Blue said. “The dedication also shows what a community that is together can achieve collectively. As a small Liberian business, this gesture signifies our strength and also the passion we have for communities.”DJ Blue called the gesture “amazing”, not because the project cost the station $7,500.00 USD, but because “this is the first time in history that a small business (radio station) owned by young Liberians has embarked on a sustainable project with such magnitude”, he added.“HOTT FM has reached out to numerous orphanages and communities, and we have legal documents to prove all. Long before the Ebola outbreak, we identified with WestPoint by feeding them and giving them packages of goodies for a whole day,” DJ Blue added.Meanwhile, the Kpallah community was engaged when DJ Blue was fortunate to meet its community leader Alahaji Seator. He says he was astonished at the fact that community dwellers didn’t have a proper place to ease themselves.“Grandmothers, mothers, children, women and the whole community are using the bushes to ease themselves,” DJ Blue recalls.  “And being a well meaning citizen with heart and love for his/her community, especially with the position to help, such a thing can’t be ignored.”HOTT FM is also known for throwing big bashes, concerts and entertaining events. According to DJ Blue, HOTT FM held a series of events to raise money for the latrine project.“The project cost $7,500.00. No one heeded their call, so we decided to take the bull by the horns. We are proud to say this modern latrine was one hundred percent funded by HOTT FM 107.9. I hope other institutions will imitate what HOTT FM is doing and has done,” DJ Blue urged.For the meantime, the community leader Alahaji Seator extolled HOTT FM for dedicating the modern latrine to his community and its people.“People who carry on initiatives in communities are normally politicians. But to see a private business institution erecting a modern latrine in my community brings me joy. I urge the community to use the latrine properly so that it will last longer for the good of the community and its people,” said Seator.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more