PRESS RELEASE – In June 2014, a follow up intervention of the Return to Happiness programme was activated by the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment to provide additional support to families affected by last year’s Christmas Eve trough.
Programme Coordinator Urania Joseph said “the programme has been able to provide further psycho-social support to a number of children at the point in time where it’s really needed, because of all the social challenges and the anti-social behaviours that are being displayed in the school system and in the community. We think it’s timely that we were able to introduce such a programme.”
Joseph highlighted the role of UNICEF, the Ministry of Education through their team of Guidance Counselors, and the Social Transformation Officer for the South in ensuring the success of the initiative.
“During the sessions there were a lot of ‘Aha!’ moments where people came to realize ‘O my gosh, I never looked at it like that’ and when you get those kinds of experiences in sessions of that nature, you know that it is going to be reflected in the decisions that they make later on, you know that later on they are going to see things differently and as a result, act differently. Change is never immediate, so I am hoping that a few months down the line I will hear those kinds of success stories,” said Southern District Counselor of the Ministry of Education Ms. Janie Joseph.
Ms. Joseph indicated that both children and parents provided positive feedback throughout the course of the programme, underscoring its practical application in their lives.
Parent Participant of Bruceville, Vieux-Fort Ms. Pearlita Amedee noted that “it has been a challenge for me, I must say, but I have been improving with everything that I have learnt. We learnt how to cope with our kids and others in our community despite what we’ve been through with the trough and its aftereffects. We got a lot of tips from the ladies that are here, it has built me up, and something that I must say is that I have been putting the things I’ve learnt into practice. I must say that, because sometimes when I’m trying to discipline my children, even with everything that I have been through, I have to stop, because I remember what I have learnt and I make the effort to speak to them differently.”
Ms. Amedee noted that the interaction with other parents allowed them to share private experiences and offer support to each other. Realizing the similarities in their experiences provided a higher level of comfort in expressing thoughts and feelings.