After delivering her opening remarks, Joy Crooks, Nurse Administrator at CUMI invited Rev. Lenworth N Anglin to lead us in prayer, followed by greetings from stakeholder groups.
Mrs. Gage-Grey of the Child Development Agency (CDA) welcomed the contribution that this charity offers. 10 in every 1000 children are in need of intervention, meaning 8000 children for their population in Jamaica. The CDA is on a mission to protect children and looks out for ways of getting involved in the national conversation. We need to see each child as our own. CDA endorses EPOCC and looks forward to a meaningful partnership.
Dr Claudette Crawford-Brown, Lecturer in the Dept. of Social Work at UWI brought greetings from that institution, and from Jamaica Association for Social Workers, and from other organizations she represents. After 40 years in child advocacy, she recognizes that the social status of the child is in a lot of trouble. I wrote in my notes that 100 children were murdered in 2015. (I hope I made a mistake and that that isn’t true.) Only one child was murdered in 1993. Sexual abuse is increasing at an alarming rate. 700 children went missing. People are crying out for solutions, but the link between the micro-level and solutions is missing. This programme could pave the way to macro-level solutions.
Mrs. Debbian Livingstone Edwards brought greetings from the Office of the Children’s Advocate, (OCA). She also welcomed the programme because children require free and ready access. There is a gap in the availability of psychosocial services, and there is a need for sustained counselling. She reminded us that it is our civic duty to protect the rights of children.
Greetings from FLOW/Lime Foundations was to have been brought by Mrs. Shellian O’Connor, who was unavailable because of illness, but she assured EPOCC of their commitment.
Corinaldi Avenue Primary School choir treated us to an emotional rendition of their song; and Mount Alvernia High School’s Susanna Hyde, Child Ambassador for the OCR for Region 4, performed a poem about a boy accused of stealing. I wasn’t sure if he was guilty or not, but Susanna’s enactment made us feel his fear and sense of isolation.
We saw Ms. Ottoa Wilson busy videotaping the launch, and were then introduced to her work – a short video about child abuse in Jamaica, and her paintings and drawings displayed around the room.
Mrs. Beverley Chung, who was born in Catadupa, St James, but left Jamaica when she was nearly 9, took us on her journey to the founding of EPOCC. She keeps in touch with Jamaica and is distressed about what is happening. She wrote a poem entitled Jamaica Weeps, Jamaica Bleeds. Inspired by a visit to Bridge of Hope Charity in Uganda, her question “Why don’t they do something?” became “Why don’t I do something?” She knew that she herself had the skills to run a charity, inherited from her grandmother, Ellen, and he mother, Pearl, who both started churches and for whom EPOCC is named. She also had experience of working with Childline in the UK. She shared her vision with Dr. Pearnel Bell and Nurse Joy Crooks, who both said, “We need to listen to children”. A further impetus came from Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica’s address to the 6th Biennial Diaspora Conference (June 2015), in which he encouraged support for community projects that would positively impact the lives of children. Hence EPOCC was born.
Mission -Initial Aims:
- Visit to schools, youth clubs/centres and churches to inform on abuse awareness and to empower children to say 'no' and/or to report abuse
- Transitional opportunities and mentoring post 18 years for children that have been in care
- Further educational opportunities for disadvantaged youths
A SWOT analysis was performed:
|Mrs. Juliet Holness in conversation with Dr. Pearnel Bell|
welcomed the launch of EPOCC, pointing out that child abuse includes emotional
abuse; and that we don’t realize how many children are in need of this service.
A desperate human is one with no hope. She implored us to support the work of
The function closed with the presentation of an orchid to Mrs. Holness by Hopeton Ridgard; Vote of Thanks by Mrs. Janette Allen; Closing Remarks by Joy Crooks; and closing prayer by Rev. Milton Davidson.