Myesha Broadie, a reporter and presenter from Irie FM won the UNICEF Award for Excellence in Reporting on Children’s Rights at the 2022 Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) National Journalism Awards for her documentary “Children’s Cry” which highlights the effects of crime on the nation’s children. Myesha reflects upon her experience – learning from children about how crime and violence affect them.
I am passionate about giving a voice to the people who are not usually heard, people for whom others tend to speak on their behalf: the homeless, people with disabilities and children.
Giving voice to the children
In 2021, I visited the community of Chapleton in Clarendon, where four children and their mother were brutally killed and seeing the pain first-hand made me realise that Jamaica has a terrible crime and violence problem and not even babies are safe. I knew I had to do something about this, even if it was just to raise awareness.
I had been talking to one particular teen, Nesean Blair, 17, who was hit by a stray bullet which left him paralysed and as such he was seeking help to go overseas to remove the bullet. He sounded sad as he could no longer become a footballer. It was as if a criminal robbed him of a great future. I also documented the story of a young lady, Giana Ormsby, 16, who lived in a crime plagued community for years.
Learning how crime is affecting our children
Crime steals the dreams of our children. Even those who survived are suffering from physical injuries or psychological traumas, living in fear for the rest of their lives.
Crime and violence affect how children learn. In the case of Nesean, he had to be out of school due to his injuries, while Giana could not concentrate at school because she was worried about her safety on most days.
Nesean had plans of working hard to contribute to his family's success and the development of Jamaica, but now he is not sure he will ever be able to. Children should not have to worry about these issues. They should be protected, and they should feel safe.
I believe children’s voices matter. Our children are the future of Jamaica, so we need to hear from them. We need to make things right for them so that they can become optimistic about their dreams, life, and future. I wish to continue to focus on children while also giving a voice to other vulnerable groups within Jamaican society.
What's UNICEF doing?
UNICEF partners with the Press Association of Jamaica to present the annual ‘Award for Excellence in Reporting on Children’s Rights' to journalists whose work highlights issues affecting children. This is a part of UNICEF’s wider work to strengthen reporting on children’s issues. UNICEF is also engaging journalists in discussions around the social norms that drive gender-based violence and child abuse and how these might be reflected in media reporting. These engagements are part of the Spotlight Initiative, which in Jamaica aims to reduce family violence, focusing on violence against women and girls and child abuse.