|The pain and sadness in the eyes of the beautiful, young |
woman make it seem obvious that she is well acquainted
with the horrors of abuse. God bless you, Rita.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Speaking at the launch of the project at the British Council recently, the foundation’s executive director Rita Marque-Mbatha said communities and adults must be equipped with the right information to help them protect children from sexual harm.
“These are ambitious plans, but we are an ambitious campaign. We want as many trainees as possible especially counsellors, school children, teachers and administrators to become aware of child sexual abuse issues, including warning signs to look for in children and adults, so that more children and women are protected,” she said.
Marque-Mbatha said the organisation has partnered with End Violence Against Women (EVAW) International, a non-profit organisation based in USA, who have offered free online training for counsellors and school children.
“In preparation for their training events, and to learn more about the Start by Believing public awareness campaign, selected youth, will in April next year attend a three day training conference, which will be hosted by EVAW International in USA from April 18 to 20,” she said.
Marque-Mbatha said the training would allow selected students to return home and cascade the information to other children in various schools. She added the campaign would focus on school children and University students between 16 and 24 years.
Marque-Mbatha said men and boys would be engaged with a view to educate them and equip them with skills necessary to become leaders in their communities.
“Engaging men and boys in violence prevention is not simply a matter of getting their attention; it is also a question of how to incorporate men into already active women’s violence prevention efforts in a productive and collaborative manner,” she said.
“While there is a need for men and boys to be leaders in violence prevention, they must learn to do so in ways that do not reproduce the power dynamics and silencing of women’s voices that already contribute heavily to interpersonal violence in our culture. Men and boys gain the skills necessary to become leaders in their communities, by helping create positive environments using their newly acquired knowledge about healthy relationships, as well as recognising warning signs of abusive behaviour and knowing what to do if an unhealthy situation arises.”
Line of Hope Project was designed to inspire, empower, engage and equip youth and young adults to join Women’s Comfort Corner Foundation in to help prevent child abuse.