United for Children, a group conceptualized by students of the Convent High School, held its first awareness walk on Saturday morning, from the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard to the Botanical Gardens, under the theme: “It Shouldn’t Hurt to Be a Child.”
The members of United for Children, who have opted to remain anonymous, told Dominica News Online that the group’s main goal is “to fight against child abuse, negligence, and ill-treatment of minors in Dominica. We are united for children because it shouldn’t hurt to be a child.”
A founding member of the group revealed the inspiration behind its inception.
“What inspired us was that children all over the world are being abused and no one got a chance to speak up for them, and stop it,” she explained. “So, we wanted to give children a voice, and to speak up for them so that child abuse can stop and the parents and everybody can learn to love their children, and let our children be children.”
The students urged members of the public to report suspected cases of abuse.
“You are condoning child abuse when you keep quiet about it. Break the silence. Child abuse is one secret you should not keep,” they advised.
The girls commented that they plan to establish a “firm foundation” within the Convent High School, and subsequently branch out into other schools on-island. They noted that they have received support from their teachers, principal, and over 100 students who are interested in joining the group.
Secretary of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth, Tina Alexander, acts as the group’s mentor, providing guidance and assistance.
Representatives from the NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth, Lifeline Ministries, Child Fund, and Love One, Teach One were present at the event.
DEPEX Colour Lab, HHV Whitchurch & Co. Ltd., Dominica National Council of Women (DNCW) were named as sponsors of the event.