UNICEF applauds creation of Samuels Haynes Institute of Excellence as a Child Friendly Space
Belize City, March 2, 2009 - The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) applauds the Pickstock Development Association (PDA) on the establishment of the Samuels Haynes Institute of Excellence, which will serve as a Child Friendly Space for children and adolescents in the Pickstock and Lake Independence Constituencies in Belize City.
The Institute, located on Mahogany Street, was officially opened on Saturday, February 28. It will offer an after-school program with remedial education for primary and secondary school students in the community. It will also offer classes in computer, music, food preparation and catering, sewing, and agriculture. The facility has a library, a diabetes center, and a tennis and basketball courts for sporting activities.
UNICEF was one of several organizations, including BTL, CARDI, and NEMO that partnered with the PDA on this project. According to Country Representative Rana Flowers, who spoke at the opening ceremony, UNICEF agreed to support the project because it brings services and outreach to the people that need it most, reaching into their communities and allowing them to feel a stronger connection to their communities.
“This Project will create safe spaces for children,” Flowers said. “It will give them outlets where they can express themselves and develop their creative talents. It will also provide them with access to educational resources such as a library and computers.”
The Child Friendly City Initiative is a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights that UNICEF is piloting in Belize. The main goal of the initiative is to improve the quality of life of children and women (particularly on Southside Belize City) by integrating children’s, adolescents’ and women’s issues into municipal programming and integrated policy development and implementation. It is hoped that by engaging the participation of the community through this child friendly space model, that long-term, effective solutions are developed and implemented.
Hon. Wilfred Elrington, the Pickstock Area Representative, who is also Belize’s Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was the keynote speaker at the Ceremony. In his address, Minister Elrington expressed his gratitude to UNICEF for its on-going commitment to contribute significant financial capital and technical expertise to the project in the form of computers, musical instruments, sewing machines, and furniture that would ensure that the children who live in the community and attend schools have access to resources that help them realize their full potential.