24 February 2023

Giving a voice to Jamaican children damaged for life by violence

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…, 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…, 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…, 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…
14 July 2022

Youth looking back at violence in childhood

Recently we met some bright young people whose eyes were glowing with the firm belief that together we can end violence against children. “We look forward to the revolutionary era where children are to be seen and also to be heard,” says Theo, one of the youth participants at the National Policy Dialogue on Ending Violence Against Children,…, Andrew Johnson, 26, Member of Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, What type of discipline do you think helped you as a child? I have experienced corporal punishment as a child. I don’t think it helped me to change into the person I am now. What really helped me is the social intervention programmes. Whenever I feel loved, whenever I feel like this person is connected to me, I respect the person and I was more…, Theo KnightTomlinson, 18, Member of CPFSA Children’s Advisory Panel, "Spare the rod and spoil the child" From a biblical standpoint, the Lord didn’t physically beat anyone. He spoke to them repeatedly and repeatedly. He tries to correct them a number of times until they open up their mind to take the knowledge given from Him. He knows the person will change, so you don’t spare the rod and spoil the child. Also, if…, Andre Witter, Co-Founder/Executive Director for Jamaica Deaf Youth Advocacy, Impacting all five senses We must remember that corporal punishment does not simply include physical and verbal abuse. Punishment is also associated with the five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Children learn to fear when they watch their parents or adults take up a stick, belt, or whatever, and they interpret the circumstances…, What's UNICEF doing?, UNICEF continues to support the implementation of Jamaica’s National Plan of Action for an Integrated response to Children and Violence (NPACV). Specifically, UNICEF assisted in establishing the Inter Sectoral Committee on Children and Violence and its four Technical Working Groups and supported the development of (i) the NPACV’s Monitoring and…
03 June 2020

Young Jamaicans respond to domestic abuse in COVID-19

U-Report recently polled young Jamaicans on their views about fears of a potential increase in domestic abuse due to stay-at-home conditions during COVID-19, and to ask their advice to inform a project for the Spotlight Initiative – a partnership between the United Nations, the European Union and the Government of Jamaica to  reduce family…, Female U-Reporter, Trelawny, age 27:, Because of covid 19 I am unable to provide for myself and children and that makes me irritable. I don’t hit my kids but I find that I shout at them a lot more and I am ashamed of that. Just want to put something in place to better provide for my kids and myself. Not easy when you are not sure where your next meal is coming from., Male U-Reporter, Kingston, age 23:, Break the curse by eliminating the causes. Such as parents who themselves were victim of abuse. And implementing measures to prevent further duplication of abuse. Cause it can become a virus like this current epidemic if the treatments and impacts are not tackled swiftly enough. Rather than awaiting death or injury., Female U-Reporter, Kingston, age 21:, Stop making beatings an option especially the first option of discipline or correction. It does not help, and it has been proven, especially in inner cities, it only makes matters worse, because children lack socially acceptable behaviours and are less likely to understand how to deal with social disagreements outside of war-like tendencies–…, Female U-Reporter, St Catherine, age 26:, That one is hard especially if they were raised to believe abuse is okay and seeing as children are home and some of these parents are not getting an income at this time, it’s increased stress. When y’all figure out a way, let them know., Male U-Reporter, St Ann, age unknown:, The children only present themselves in a manner they have learnt mostly from home or outside, don’t be too hard on them and look into yourselves and see if such manner of behaviour is in you. It is not right, correcting someone else for the things you yourself are doing., Female U-Reporter, St James, age 19:, Many parents were abused themselves and need therapy but most will never seek it and they truly believe they aren’t doing anything wrong; normalize reporting., Female U-Reporter, Saint Catherine, age 25:, Remember kiddos are struggling too. Their world has changed and they dont know how to deal with it. Manage your own stress so you can help them manage theirs., Female U-Reporter, Saint James, age 23:, Learning to listen with understanding. Create a safe space for kids to be open and heard. Never second guess your child…. be patient and know the same energy, respect, honesty and love you put into that child it’s the same you’ll get in return., Female U-Reporter, Saint Catherine, age 25:, 1. When you are feeling upset just take a deep breath. 2. Give the kids things to do to occupy their time. 3. Listen to your child, this can help them to listen to you. 4. Play with your kids. Sometimes they just need a fun moment with their parents. 5. Talk to them let them know that you have feelings too. 6. Love and respect your child., Female U-Reporter, Clarendon, age 22:, I believe that abuse will never cease as parents tend to put all their broken dreams and stress and channel it to hit their child., Male U-Reporter, Westmoreland, age 24:, Just believe in your children’s ability and motivate them in the best way possible but you have to start with you., Coming soon, We’ll be polling high school age U-Reporters on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, asking for their views and experiences on distance learning since schools closed. Also look out for an updated COVID-19 information bot to give U-Reporters updated information on the virus compiled by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation…, How to join, U-Report is anonymous and asks just three questions to join: age, gender and parish. We operate on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger; and thanks to FLOW customers on their network without data can send and receive texts with U-Report for free. Message the word JOIN to 876-838-4897 on WhatsApp or SMS; or open a conversation with @ureportjamaica on…
23 July 2019

From ‘bad’ student to a leader and mentor

I was raised in West Kingston. Growing up where I did, I soon realised as a child that you got more support being deviant than being good. Good people treated you badly, and friends who were doing bad things also treated you badly. For any child who’s trying to be good in the middle of all that, life is going to be lonely. Most of my life I had to…, Reaching a lifetime low at the age of 16, Realising that I only had myself made me want to commit to repeating at St. Andrew Technical. From there, I became top of the class, President of the Student Council and then a youth mayor. I learned that at the end of the day, the system doesn’t grade you on your circumstances, it grades you on your results. The transition from Tivoli Gardens…, Mentoring youth in correctional facilities, It has been a long journey from there to  becoming a student at the University of the West Indies (UWI) ! But now I am here, I view myself as really privileged compared to those in my community, so I wanted to give back. In all that I have done, including hosting a radio show on Roots FM for youth, working with those in correctional facilities is…, Give youth a chance, before it is too late, But we need so much more violence prevention work earlier on – in our schools at secondary and primary levels. When we see students misbehaving and  that goes unchecked, it grows into something else.  Many youth are struggling because of a lack of skills.  They also lack the confidence to improve themselves. What I want for all youth is guidance…, What's UNICEF doing?, Fulfilling children’s rights is at the heart of  what we do at UNICEF . This year, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we feature a special  ‘30 under 30’ series , highlighting amazing Jamaican children and youth like Jerome who are using their voices and talents to help protect and realise the…
09 January 2019

Back to school after losing a parent to violence

[SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO] It was the summer before Rhyim Roach’s final year of primary school. What was supposed to be Rhyim’s last long vacation holiday, including a country trip to go fishing with his father before the stressful GSAT exams, suddenly became anything but peaceful. A thoughtful boy, the shooting death of his father is ever-…, Father’s shooting haunts his dreams, He has a recurring dream where he and his father are walking together. But then Rhyim’s father stops to enter a shop and at this point some men follow him inside. Then they shoot him dead; his son powerless to prevent it. Many other children will have entered the 2018-19 academic year unprepared to focus on their school work due to  stress caused…, Children learning in climate of fear, Within this cycle of violence, children become perpetrators as well as victims. “Flashlight.” “Bicycle.” “Gun.” “That’s what I found on the library internet search history,” says Christopher Wright, Principal of Holy Family Primary, the school that Rhyim attended. “Why are they looking for that? Because they’re somewhere in the dark, with a gun (…, UNICEF partner intervening at his school, UNICEF partner  Fight for Peace  works closely with Holy Family, supporting guidance counsellors to help children cope, as well as extra-curricular sporting activities. Their approach includes  psychological first-aid , equipping youths with the skills to step away from potentially volatile situations. UNICEF is committed to  helping to make…