THE Caribbean Voice (TCV) and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) recently outlined a collaborative programme to enable teachers to be better prepared to help their students deal with social and mental health issues.
According to General-Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald, “Our children who are the students and the pupils are even more important, because they’re the ones who are going to be our leaders of tomorrow.”
Ms. McDonald added: “In this partnership, we are not only going to build our teachers, in terms of assisting and helping them to develop new skills and dealing with the social ills we have, but we recognise that we are going to pass this knowledge onto the students, so that we will be able to teach our students how to operate with each other, how to resolve conflicts without fists fighting or using weapons”.
Moreover, the two entities in the near future will be signing an official partnership to further expand its collaboration. “We recognise that so many issues are affecting us…affecting teachers, affecting the schools, affecting us in our wider society and so we have decided to join on this bandwagon to build right attitudes, save lives, educate persons and together be able to build a society that we all so long for,” said McDonald.
The programme was launched on January 18 at Canje Secondary Schools where 120 teachers were engaged in a TCV Teachers’ Workshop that focused on issues such as suicide, emphatic communication, self-esteem, coping skills, stress, self –harm and abuse.
This collaboration also includes the Childcare and Protection Agency which was also part of the team presenting at the workshop. The next workshop is scheduled for Berbice High School on January 25. In the upcoming months, workshops will be taken to teachers in all the regions across Guyana.
Also, this collaboration is soon expected to target students, pending clearance from the Ministry of Education. TCV’s Youth & Student Workshop also focuses on similar issues as the Teachers’ Workshop, but from a student perspective, in addition to other issues affecting students such as bullying and safe use of the Internet.
Additionally, TCV is also teaming up with GUYSUCO to hold workshops for retrenched sugar workers to help them deal with the mental health and psychological fallout of losing their jobs. The first two workshops are scheduled for February 3 at the Rose Hall estate Community Centre and February 17 at the Skeldon Estate Recreation Centre. Workshops are also expected to be delivered to retrenched workers at Wales and Enmore and follow-up is expected to be done.
TCV also repeated its call to decriminalise attempted suicide. The NGO also reiterated its call for the establishment of a registry of sex offenders.
Nazim Hussain, Guyana Coordinator of The Caribbean Voice, said “If we were to establish a Sex Offenders Registry, you would know who the people are who have in the past committed these atrocities.”
According to Hussain, much in the way the police keep mug shots and a list of names of suspects, the registry is one that will ensure that the names of sex offenders are kept in databases too.
Hussain added, “A registry is not meant to castigate these people and not allow them a role in society, because we strongly believe that people can change,” said Hussain. “The aim, is to help to reform the offenders with the hope that they can become law-abiding citizens.”