Guyana joined the rest of the world on Monday in celebrating International Day of the Families under the theme ‘Families Education and well – being.’
The day aimed at discussing the importance of knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence.
A lack of education, broken homes, single parenting contribute to neglect and physical or sexual abuse of children which is as a result of the remaining parent not being able to provide the basic needs for his or her family.
According to social activist, Vanessa Thomas of Child Link, which is a non-governmental Organization, poverty contributes to neglect in most single parent households.
“When violence against children occurs, it causes enormous human and economic cost not only for the children and their families, but society as a whole. The negative effects on the physical psychological, emotional and spiritual development of children are endless.
“These effects however range from minor to severe which can include physical injuries, developmental delays, learning disorders, aggressive behaviors, depression, stress disorders, conduct disorders and suicide, just to mention a few. These devastating impacts can begin to occur during the abuse and can extend into adult hood which can be felt across a lifetime or generation,” the activist noted.
Meanwhile in observing the occasion yesterday Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally reaffirmed government’s commitment towards developing families.
According to the Minister, the well-being of families is high on government’s agenda for sustainable development.
“We will continue to invest in programs and policies that will seek to empower families and create the conditions in which strong cohesive families can flourish because strong families are building blocks of strong communities, and strong communities are building blocks of a strong nation.”
Ally stated that her Ministry will continue to work with partners to identify policy oriented goals and the required resources to enhance the development process of family life.
According to the Minister, special emphasis will be placed on children and young people to equip them for the future. Similarly, expanding access to high quality early childhood education is also an important investment since it is impossible to develop a nation without it.
“Every investment made towards the development of the social and physical environment of the family in an investment in the future. Human capital of our nation. Promoting the health, nutrition, education, safety, and prosperity of the family is key to ensuring the survival and productivity of Guyana,” the Minister pointed out.
The Minister further stated that her ministry will continue to provide service oriented systems to protect the rights and well-being of family members who are victims of violence.
“The Ministry will also support families in parenting and imparting core values, the significance of education, and advocacy with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), communities and members of the private sector to recognize the importance of maintaining the family unit while promoting a safe, stable and nurturing family environment for all members.”
Meanwhile Chairperson for the event, Sandra Hooper said the country’s development is highly dependent on the family. Hooper said, “The family is a pivotal institution under which society develops its strength. It provides for protection and well-being of members of society who are protected by the laws of the country, including international conventions which Guyana has signed and ratified.”
Hooper opined that the family is a universal feature of every society and of every ethnicity, therefore Guyanese should appreciate the importance of happy families which leads to happy communities and ultimately a happy country.