Sunday, November 27, 2022
HomeEditorialA better world for our children is urgently needed

A better world for our children is urgently needed

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently funded an information campaign across Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique about how to protect children from abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grenada Child Protection Authority (CPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have promised to carry out the campaign, which includes sharing posters, videos, animations, and dramas on radio and social media. We await to see the success of that campaign since it seems that there is the need for timely intervention to save our children. Most times such programmes don’t get pass the converted.

A burning issue is the idea of squatters exposing children’s’ lives to danger that seems to go unnoticed. The issue of young Ariel Bolah, who was killed by another child in a remote area where she lived, is testimony of that, yet it continues. It is said that according to the law children under the age of 18 are wards of the state. So schools, books, uniforms and in some instances houses are provided by the Government in keeping with the rights of the child. However, there are locations where children live that are deemed unsafe and they are exposed to danger; something should be done urgently about these areas where adults choose to squat, creating new communities.

Recently the new Soca Monarch ‘Boysie’ was in local news speaking about a place in Saint Andrew which is locally called “Bagdad”. The artiste said as part of giving back to society, he decided to distribute boxes of food and other necessities to an area in need. He revealed that the area was selected based on request from the public. His words in the news were “there should never be a place like that in Grenada.” He was visibly overtaken by sorrow as he spoke a little of the area. We in the media were expecting to hear of some kind of intervention or outreach programme as a follow-up. We thought Boysie had said enough to provoke some kind of attention to the area. But to date nothing was said in the media.

The question here is these places with names such as Saigon, Bagdad, Korea keep cropping up which in some instances make the news for all the wrong reasons, why are they left alone? Wasn’t a schoolboy among the six people who stabbed a man to death in the area called Saigon in Grand Anse? Yet it’s business as usual there. Too many children are being brought up in areas where drugs, violence and alcohol are the order of the day. It is no wonder that so many of them were out playing Jab Jab when Carnival was forbidden. Somebody needs to pay attention to the young people we are cultivating. As adults we have made decisions that have spoilt the children’s world; but it may not be too late to make the garden better for the seeds to grow.

The Revolution made a very prudent move by setting up community leaders to watch over different areas and call for professional help when necessary. So those were the days when decadent behaviour was on the down low. Children played outdoors in the fresh air while parents got involved in uplifting activities. They grew up with a positive image of the adults which they copied as they grew older. We need politicians that would get to know their constituencies by intermingling with the people living there. Today much is said about teenage pregnancy, we heard of a mother being eleven years older than her first two children. Some of us can only shake our heads and say “how times have changed.” The little girl was still in primary school when she gave birth to twins. The question here is ‘who is failing our children?’

The USAID/UNICEF campaign is part of a $375,433 USD program to fund radio health advisories about COVID-19, web-based training on child protection to 600 faith-based leaders, development of posters with Ministries of Education to teach children how to protect themselves from COVID-19, and other risk communication initiatives. It is heartening that USAID and UNICEF are also documenting and analysing the impact of quarantines, isolation, and school closures on women, children, and families to understand what can be done better to support them. We say kudos to that because some of the stories that were being circulated on social media are great cause for concern. Wasn’t there a video where a seventeen year old boy made his 13 and 15 year old sisters pregnant?

The point we are making this week is “enough talk, time for action.”

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