WE, THE members of the organizing committee of ‘Voices Against Violence National Candlelight Vigil’, are seeking your help in reaching out to communities across Guyana to urge them to organize vigils in their respective communities.We also want to point out that we plan to keep the anti-violence momentum going by organizing at least one activity monthly.
For now, we are asking all organizations and groups in each community to come together and organize a vigil focusing on anti-violence — on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day. This organizing committee is willing to provide guidance and assistance if needed.
Under the theme ‘Connect…Communicate… Care’, this vigil is an initiative that is inexpensive and easy to organize. More importantly, it is an attempt to get communities across Guyana involved in anti-violence activism, while fostering the concept of communal action for community well-being. In a landscape where social cohesion is conspicuous by its absence, it is hoped that this vigil would catalyze a process of change in this respect.
The overall objective is to begin the process of the community taking ownership for its safety every which way, and that process is expected to also create the environment for NGOs to collaborate with community leaders and organizations to hold community empowerment sessions and help implement anti-violence training.
For the purposes of this vigil, all of the following are considered acts of violence, either against self or others: trafficking, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic and child abuse, rape, incest, teenage pregnancy, road carnage, dysfunctional relationships, neglect of the elderly, abuse of the mentally and physically challenged. Besides, relationship violence and its dysfunctional socialization — which are more and more looming as issues of critical urgency — can and do shape personalities that easily gravitate towards crime and attending violence.
Thus violence should be addressed holistically; and when communities come together, they begin to communicate, connect and care, as they build togetherness while getting their feet wet in the practice of mindfulness. This process is also hoped to enhance NGO/NGO collaboration, thereby enabling more impactful work more extensively and more cost effectively within communities. In this way, help will reach where it’s most needed, and hopefully positive changes will emerge sooner, rather than later.
To date, 30 partners have organized 33 vigils from Corriverton in Region Six to Lethem in Region Nine and Mabaruma in Region One. There have been vigils in all ten administrative regions and all the towns except one. Another 10 to fifteen vigils are in the making, but we hope that many more will come on stream before September 10.
Voices Against Violence has been endorsed by Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security; Dr. Carl Niamatali, President of the Guyana Society for Cancer Prevention; the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Berbice Chamber of Commerce, and the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, among others.
For information, or to become involved, call Bibi at 621-6111 or 223-2637; Pandit Deodat at 627-4432; Keshni Rooplall at 697-9968; Nazim at 644-1152, or Dolly Singh at 266-5617. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
The Caribbean Voice
Golden Om Dharmic Youth
Save Abee Foundation
Anna Catherina Islamic Complex,
NJASM, Humanitarian Mission
Art of Living (Guyana),
Nirvana Humanitarian Foundation,
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD)
Imagine Nation Foundation
Monique’s Helping Hands
Guyana Women’s Roundtable
Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA)
Crossroad Suicide & Mental Health Awareness Services
Galaxy 21 Communications
Guyana Divya Jyoti Asssociation
Seventh-Day Adventists of Guyana
East Canje Humanitarian Society
Hindus For Selfless Service
Rafieya’s International Vision & Hope
Tain, Clifton John’s Humanitarian Society
Miss Universe Guyana
Guyana National Youth Council
President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana (PYARG)
Stabroek Lions and Leo
Corriverton Mayor and Town Council