169 children enjoy six weeks programme

August 1, 2011 | By | Filed Under News 

Targeting school dropouts…

Under the “Tackling Child Labour Through Education” project (Tackle) the Ministry of Labour and Human Services and Social Security in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with support from the European Union and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States concluded a six weeks programme targeting school dropouts, last Saturday.

Football coach Walston Martins with some of the children who participated in the football sessions.

Although 120 children were being targeted for the programme, 169 children were eventually accepted.  The target group ranged from four to 18-years old.
The choice of selection surrounded families in difficult circumstances and on the public assistance list of individuals and homes where there were school dropouts.
The event was held at the community care point at the West Ruimveldt Wesleyan Community Church compound on Front Road.
The children were gathered from the West Ruimveldt, Middle Road, East Ruimveldt, Albouystown, East La Penitence and the Riverview communities.
The International Labour Organisation describes child labour as work that is likely to jeopardise the health and safety of children.
Assistant Chief Probation Officer Marva Williams said the programme was not just a teaching session, since there was also life skill training, along with the disciplines of sports which included football, cricket, basketball, table tennis, scrabble and chess.
Sessions were held on Saturdays, where the life skills aspects were dealt with, and then the sports phase, while football and basketball sessions were held on Thursdays.
Noting that the children were able to choose which sporting activity they had more interest in,  Ms Williams  said that the parenting aspect was also dealt with and parents were also given a six weeks parenting programme, which was done every Wednesday with 35 parents.
She said the parents were encouraged to pursue their own academic endeavours, and as such encourage their children to either return to their schooling or in some cases to stay in school.
Trophies were given to children who excelled in their sport disciplines and stationary packages were given out to the rest of children who participated. This included stationary items that were necessary for a child to begin a new school term.
One of the football coaches, Walston Martins said the programme was very short; however, the first session was an indoor session to teach the children about the theoretical procedures of the game.
“We went through the laws of the game, and the children responded well, then the next week we took it to the practical, and technical aspects of the game were practiced,” Martins said. “You may find senior footballers may not know about the laws of the game. Nine of the children were eventually enlisted into a football club at East Ruimveldt,” he added.
These children were from the under 11, 13, 15, and a few under-seventeens who learnt from the programme.

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