Dec 31, 2012 News Comments Off on 2012: Human Services Ministry sustained focus on vulnerable, heightened domestic violence awareness
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security continued to cater for the segments of the population who were affected adversely by poor socio-economic circumstances.
These are the people, who because of their challenges have been unable to consistently sustain their livelihood on their own, hence the Ministry reaching out to them.
The Ministry deals with a wide selection of responsibilities, ranging from orphans, abused children in any form, the homeless, domestic violence victims, providing shelter for abused victims, old age pension and social assistance, apart from mounting awareness programmes that focus on issues in society.
The year 2012 was a very busy one for the sector. There was the continuation of many programmes, as Government continues to focus on ways to further improve the quality of lives of the vulnerable. The sum of $199.7M was allocated in the 2012 budget for the Ministry to execute its responsibilities.
Bettering the lives of pensioners
An increased sum was given to the Human Services Ministry which saw about 44,000 pensioners receiving 33.33 percent or $10,000 monthly prior to the $7500 they were collecting. The Ministry commenced its annual pension book distribution in November throughout the 10 administrative regions at locations nearest to beneficiaries’ homes.
Additionally, pensioners continued to receive other support services which include subsidies on water tariffs, free travel on public vessels, and free spectacles, under Government’s Eye Care Assistance programme.
Over 9000 people benefited from public assistance during the year. This grant was increased by 7% to $5,900 in 2012.
Catering for the homeless
More than 200 persons continued to receive accommodation, meals, medical assistance, counselling, training and job placement assistance at the Night Shelter in East La Penitence during the year.
With the completion of the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration at Onverwagt, West Berbice, over 300 persons will be housed, removing them from off the streets. The building was close to completion as the year ended. Residents will benefit from skills training to further their rehabilitation process.
This $420M facility is a collaborative venture between the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela, and comprises two dormitories, an administrative building which houses a training centre, library and, an infirmary and rooms for persons with communicable diseases and disabilities.
Sexual Offences Amendment Bill
Government tabled the amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, which when passed is expected to allow for a level playing field with regards to the submission of evidence by the prosecutor and the accused. This came as Government continues to make strides to eliminate sexual and domestic violence.
The National Conversation on Domestic Violence and the International day for the elimination of violence against women sought to further raise awareness of issues that affect both men and women.
And, altogether, these national awareness and public education campaigns have aided the effort of reducing and preventing violence against women and men. In addition, the Ministry engaged in 16 days of activism against gender violence. It was an opportunity to renew the commitment to release women from any form of violence.
The Men’s Affairs Bureau (MAB) was actively involved in highlighting the need to end violence and other forms of abuse within the home. This came at a time when the rate of domestic violence was high.
In this regard, MAB promoted several activities throughout the 10 Administrative Regions to help men realise their true potentials as father husband and role model.
MAB also engaged in several conversations with students in 75 schools. More than 15,000 students participated in sessions which explored alternative ways of thinking, conflict management and conflict resolution, gender, and gender equality.
There was also a concert aimed at celebrating and empowering Guyanese men and boys through the various art forms. This organisation is being complemented by the Women’s Affairs Bureau that is actively involved in gender issues and training of women.
The National Foster care Programme, the Child Care Protection Agency, the Sophia Care Centre and the Mahaica children’s home continued to provide for the needs and protection of the country’s children.
These facilities provide holistic care for children including specialised counselling services, and development of children in fields such as music, dance, art and craft, and information technology.
Moreover, the Ministry launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging primary school children to disclose any form of sexual violence.
The TELL scheme is designed to promote disclosure, prevention and develop community based interpersonal communication activities so as to reduce children’s vulnerability.
Through this initiative, children will constantly be educated in the class room so that they are able to recognise when they are abused which will increase the number of cases reported.
The implementation of the campaign over the next few years can result in Grades 3 and 6 teachers being trained, and for all primary school children to receive information to protect themselves.
In an effort to promote policies and programmes to empower women, especially single parents, under the Women of Worth Programme (WOW) single mothers continued to access loans for investing in small businesses.
Under the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI), over 653 single parents were trained in cosmetology, Information Technology and electrical installation.
This is with the aim of increasing economic opportunities and generating income for single mothers. Hundreds of single parent mothers are now able to work towards providing a better quality life for themselves and families through these programmes.
(A GINA feature)
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