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By Naomi Marshall
Residents of Matthew’s Ridge, Region One recently benefited from a ‘Gender-based violence’ workshop hosted by Blossom Inc. in collaboration with UNICEF.
The two-day workshop was held under Blossom Inc.’s ‘Spotlight Initiative’ which sought to collaborate, educate, and help mobilize the participants in addressing and managing Gender-based violence in the community alongside other forms of violence and abuse.
The initiative targeted frontline professionals in the community such as health care professionals, teachers, police officers, and child protection volunteers. However, it was also attended by secondary school students and their parents.
The workshop provided persons with practical skills, knowledge, and sensitization needed in order to effectively manage gender-based violence, abuse, and other violence in the community. It also included a module that taught participants of the importance of self-care and mental health, and how to take care of such.
Education Awareness Officer at Blossom Inc., Joses Solomon said the workshop resulted in the formation of a community support system of “Gatekeepers” for the managing and prevention of Gender-based Violence within the community of Matthews Ridge.
Additionally, a youth peer support group was formed for advocacy, prevention, and support for the youths in the community battling the effects of social issues.
Through advocacy, sensitization, raising awareness, and training, Blossom Inc. hopes to bring about sustainable change that will safeguard women, children, and other vulnerable persons within the community. Blossom Inc. also wishes to empower boys within the community.
The Education Awareness Officer noted, “Special emphasis is placed on the youths not only because they are the most impacted by the violence and abuse in the community, but due to Covid-19 restrictions and policies, they are even more exposed to unsafe habits in the community and for many, schools were their only safe space.”
Solomon added, “We [Blossom Inc.] hope to create a sustainable impact on the community through these efforts of advocacy, collaboration, and mobilization… We want everyone within the community to understand that when one of us hurts we all hurt, and we are all capable of helping in any way we can.”
She disclosed that Waramadong, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) will be the next community to benefit from the ‘Spotlight Initiative.’
Blossom Inc. is a children’s charity based in Guyana. The organisation was founded by Ayo Dalgety-Dean, a Family Therapist, in 2014 and aims to support the child protection system in Guyana as well as support children and families affected by trauma.
The organisation has six branches which are located in Regions One, Two, Four, Seven and Ten. If you know of a child who is being abused, you are advised to contact the Child Care and Protection Agency’s hotline on telephone number 227-0979.