May 08, 2017 News
– establishes group in community beset by several social ills
A group of University of Guyana final year Social Work students is aiming to improve the lot of residents of Ruimveldt, by addressing the many social ills that affect the community.
They are sharing the techniques that they have learnt in the classroom, and in the field, with residents, and have even established a group known as the Ruimveldt Nation Builder’s Community (RNBC).
Members of the Organisation are Director Hoyida Marks, Deputy Director Lavern Lovell, Public Relations Officer Shonett Taylor, Principal Guidance and Officer Maisie Ann Changlee, Guidance and Counseling Officer Rhonda Alison, Social Worker Sharona Ponett, and Research Officer Clayrina Wickham.
Some of the community development programmes include Health outreaches, Skills Training, Counseling, and Educational sessions.
The medical outreach team visits residents every fourth Saturday of the month.
There are individual and family counseling sessions on abuse, on ways to develop parenting skills, and music therapy.
At present, they are focusing on the little-known area of Riverview, Ruimveldt.
Situated near the Demerara River, Riverview is impoverished, crime-ridden, has a high rate of incest, teenage pregnancy and unemployment.
Shonett Taylor explained that after some of the parents related that they are experiencing difficulties in getting their children to communicate about issues that affect them, the team conducted several counseling sessions and “so far we have gotten good reports.”
Sometimes the RNCB conducts door to door activities. “As social workers, we must keep our sessions confidential, so we can build trust with persons” Taylor said.
Taylor said based on the assessment, teenage pregnancy is high in the area; hence the school dropout rate is also very high. The RNBC held teenage pregnancy awareness sessions, as well as drug abuse awareness, and suicide prevention sessions with the residents.
The Centre has a children’s feeding programme which was implemented in collaboration with the Ruimveldt Children’s Aid Centre in order to reduce the gap in education, since many single mothers would have related that they are trying to break the cycle of being school drop outs.
On many occasions, children do not have snacks and as a result some parents resort to keeping their children at home or sending them to school without a meal.
The Research Officer said there have been cases of discrimination against residents of this area, with some students “having their grades but cannot get jobs because the live in the ghetto.”
The RNCB has helped two students to obtain jobs. They have also referred some residents to government support systems such as the Board of Industrial Training and Carnegie School of Home Economics.
The RNBC members suggest that more should be done within the Education system regarding sexual education classes. Ponett explained that there is currently a programme called Health and Family Education. However, she said that the programme focuses more on health aspects as opposed to the real world issues, where “our youths hear songs such as “weed is my best friend” and do not fully understand the detrimental impact that marijuana has on their lives.” They pointed out that lessons on drug abuse are also not on the school curriculum.
“Children are exposed to vulgar music videos and movies, there needs to be a more informative programme so youths will understand the pros and cons of all the said issues.”
The team also recommended that police officers have better training or a social worker be present at stations to allow persons from communities such as Ruimveldt to feel more confident when making a report.
There have been approximately 25 cases so far from this project. Twelve cases have been successful. The Organization is calling on citizens to make a difference.
Persons are encouraged to join the team at the Ruimveldt Children’s Aid Centre on the weekends to share their knowledge.
The Professional Development II course requires students to use the theory they have learned so far, use their own initiative to make a difference in a community. Seven women created the Ruimveldt Nation Builder’s Community (RNBC) Centre On March 11, 2017. The project will conclude Wednesday May 10, 2017. However, the team plans to continue their work at the centre.
The group is sponsored by Ruimveldt Police Station and members of the group chip in, since many have day jobs.
The organization found it challenging but as they worked with residents of the community, they were able to help make an impact on the lives of many. As a result, the RNBC developed and work fell into place.
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