Paving the Future for Jamaican Youths

violence2In the rougher echelons of Jamaican gangland, it’s a hard fact to know that almost 92 percent of 11-year-olds that live there have witnessed gun and knife crimes in their lives, with a slimmer minority of young people actually becoming involved with a deadly weapon. The fact that within those numbers, 20 percent have been sexually-assaulted casts a dark figure of doubt on Jamaican children’s upbringing.

For the Dr. Kim Scott and Child Resiliency Programme however, dark beginnings do not mean darker endings. Armed with faith, volunteers, previously-retired teachers and a cascade of helpers, the Hope Counselling and Welfare Centre has pledged its duties to securing happy futures for young Jamaicans.

Meeting every weekday apart from Wednesdays from 2:45pm to 5:25pm, the children embark on a creative route through education, with groups engaging in a variety of subjects to get their brains ticking. Formed of 65 children, they are split into 5 groups which rotate through every subject; whilst there is the joke that they have formed their own little “gangs”, the real threats are disturbingly present in the street.

So popular is the Child Resiliency Programme that a Young Siblings Programme has been introduced as children bring along brothers, sisters and cousins.

All of this and more was funded by the Japanese Embassy’s Grass Roots Human Security Grant Project.

With a lifestyle and parentage that sits on the walls of indifference, the Dr. Kim feels that the children’s involvement in a creative lifestyle will change their lives for the better.

“Kids need to belong,” she said. “If it’s not this gang, it’s going to be one that we don’t want them to be in. It’s a sense of connection and I think that’s the bottom line in preventing violence.”

“Some of these children really need the one-on-one. Some are dyslexic, some have ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder),” she added.

Life is difficult for these young people, but if organisations are intent on giving children a future, then the long, but happier journey of recovery is in sight for the future.

Comments are closed.