Ottos Comprehensive students use their talents to support the fight against child abuse

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By Theresa Goodwin

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Students in Ottos Comprehensive School’s drama class are using their talents to raise awareness about the fight against child abuse.

They are currently featured in a series of video productions that depict real incidents of child abuse in Antigua and Barbuda. The videos focus on several aspects of child abuse, namely child neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse against girls and boys.

The project is led by Integrated Health Outreach (IHO), in partnership with the Christian Union Church (CUC) and the Social and Environmental Alliance (SEA).

IOH Executive Director Dr Nicola Bird said it was the latest in a series of projects undertaken by the non-profit organization and its partners, and it was also the final part of a month-long Pathways project to address child rights and child abuse. in Antigua and Barbuda.

She said the stories were shared by Pastor Karen Germain, who is a counselor at the school and has handled several different cases over the years.

With the support of the children, she was given the green light to share these stories which were then acted out by the drama class to raise the level of awareness.

“The class dramatized and acted out these stories and we made five different videos. At the end of the videos, information and advice is provided for people at risk of abuse and where they can seek help.

The videos are currently being released on various social media platforms and will be promoted through local media.

School counselor Karen Germain was quoted in a press release as saying, “Students were involved in creating the scenarios. The voices of young people were an essential factor in the dramatization; we wanted them to voice their opinions in the fight against child abuse.

The director of the higher education institution, Foster Roberts, said he was very pleased with the inclusion and the role played by the students.

“We were really excited to be part of this project, and I hope it will resonate positively with the rest of the company, as has happened at Ottos Comprehensive. Kudos to our school’s two counselors, video team and others,” Roberts said.

A statement from the school said the ‘Pathways to Addressing Child Rights and Child Abuse in Antigua and Barbuda’ project began in February 2021.

It was designed by Decides Antigua and Barbuda (Decides AB) and implemented by Integrated Health Outreach and its partners. The one-year project was funded by the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) of the European Union.

Other public awareness and education activities implemented over the past year include community workshops and training regarding the nature and impact of child abuse, prevention, reporting and services available; building the capacity of school counselors and national surveys to ascertain public knowledge of children’s rights.

Residents are encouraged to report cases of child abuse to the Department of Family and Social Services, Ministry of Social Transformation by contacting 464-3531 (24-hour hotline), 562-1508/1509 (between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ). ) 774-0656 (hotline) and 562-8417 (youth intervention).

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