ROSE HALL TOWN, CORENTYNE – UNICEF has re-committed to funding some projects executed by the St. Francis Community Developers (S.F.C.D.). Last week UNICEF’s representative to Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh made a promise to pump US$50,000 to allow for more focus on the club’s women and children’s projects.
The club works with 22 support groups known as Friends of St. Francis in both Regions Five and Six to enable institutional strengthening and develop human resources.
Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF’S Child Protection Officer for Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname, Doris Roos and Programme Officer at UNICEF with responsibility for Child Protection, Patricia Gittens, visited some of the support groups and a simple ceremony was later hosted at the Rose Hall Town office of the S.F.C.D.
Dr. Braimoh was deeply moved by the quality of service that the groups offer, the dedication of the members and their accomplishments. Dr. Braimoh said he can imagine the day the S.F.C.D. would be self-sufficient and is confident it can be achieved with the level of commitment displayed by the members and their leader Alex Foster.
He said the club is underestimating its ability to achieve. He challenged the S.F.C.D to prepare a blueprint for a gender friendly region, either in Region Five or Six.
President of the S.F.C.D, Alex Foster, spoke of the support his organisation and groups have been receiving from UNICEF through the years as they continue to reach out to those in need and empower the people. It was not all smooth sailing for the club, but it has been able to rise above many challenges. Today, the St. Francis Community Developers has in excess of 153 collaborative partners.
Ms. Doris Roos, who is no stranger to the S.F.C.D and its support groups, after the visit last week, reiterated her high praise for the members, saying that she is impressed by the level of commitment. “What I am seeing, it is in your talk, it is in your walk.”
UNICEF over the years has been injecting millions of dollars to boost the services offered by St. Francis and its supports groups. In 2000, the Women and Children at Risk Project came into being and was later merged with a sister venture called Youth at Risk and today is known as the Family, Youth and Children at Risk Project.
This venture deals mainly with families in crisis, disadvantaged young people and vulnerable children. The Child and Youth Friendly Spaces are also among other initiatives undertaken by the St. Francis Community Developers.
UNICEF’s funding to the Mibicuri Community Developers and the Albion Chapel Skills Training Centre, which are both support groups, ended in March and April respectively and the St. Francis Community Developers earlier this month (May).
Newly elected President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union, Colin Bynoe, in his brief remarks spoke of the need for child friendly spaces to be established in schools across the region.
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