High number of child abuse in Clarendon worries authorities
The increased cases of child abuse in Clarendon has led to the launch of the Notebook Project, created by the Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) and the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, at Race Course Primary and Infant School.
"The project came out of a need to shine more light on protecting our children and to let them know that they can reach us if they are in trouble," Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison told THE WEEKEND STAR.
"The OCA has seen increasing reports of child abuse coming out of the parish, hence we saw the Race Course Primary as a good place. It represents a collaborative effort between the OCA and the Delegation of the European Union, as the EU has a long commendable record of promoting human rights worldwide and no less so for Jamaica," she added.
She said that the project is seen as sensitization done "in a creative way.
"Much-needed school supplies will be provided for some of the school system's most vulnerable and they will have the added benefit of educating these students, parents and the community about the rights of children. And if they are being abused and if they are reaching out to somebody, that information is in the book. We have safety tips and even particular information on the EU. And, of course, it serves the purpose of being a notebook. Some 500 books have been provided," she said.
Charge d'affaires of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, Gavin Tench, told THE WEEKEND STAR that the organisation came on board because of the growing reports of abuse in rural Jamaica.
"A year ago, we saw the news reports of abuse skyrocketing in rural Jamaica and we though ... is there a practical way to address this? We wanted them to know that they are not alone and that we have resources that can help them. We also hope that other organisations will come on board to strengthen the plan, as we see the value of this initiative," he said.
Ruel Reid, the minister of education, told THE WEEKEND STAR that the Government does not have all the resources to contribute fully to education.
"This is a great initiative and I'm excited because the organisations value education and are contributing, knowing very well that the Government does not have all the resources to contribute to education. We are extremely grateful and hope that the parents and children show appreciation by taking education more seriously," he said.