Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Tears and pain over 15 years - Hear the Children's Cry marks anniversary with commitment to do even more

Published:Sunday | October 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Students taking part in a 2006 demonstration organised by Hear the Children Cry outside the St Georges Girls Primary & Infant School on Duke Street, metres from the House of Parliament, to protest against violence towards children.
Founder of Hear the Children Cry, Betty Ann Blaine (right), at a press conference to announce a campaign of civil disobedience to highlight the plight of children and families in Jamaica in 2007. Celta Kirkland is at left.
Betty Ann Blaine leads a protest while chained to the rail on the median in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew in 2011.
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The non-governmental child-protection advocacy organisation Hear the Children's Cry is marking 15 years of operation this year, and founder Betty Ann Blaine and her team are headed to church today to mark the milestone.

The organisation was launched in 2002 with a goal of working for 'A Jamaica Fit For Children' after six children from Corporate Area communities died from gun violence in a seven-day period.

Since then, it has combined vigorous high-profile advocacy with practical programmes for children, families, and youth to include the establishment of the multifaceted Missing Children's Support Programme in April 2009.

Hear the Children's Cry was also instrumental in the establishment of the Yello Media Group-sponsored Missing Children's Support Programme, and is Jamaica's only entity providing counselling for the families of missing children, as well as for returned missing children.

According to Blaine, while there have been many challenges over the years, the organisation will continue to advocate on behalf of Jamaica's children and intends to work even harder over the next 15 years to achieve 'a Jamaica Fit For Children'.

"Specifically, as we note in our Vision Statement, we dream of, and work towards, a Jamaica in which all children are protected from physical, sexual, mental, and verbal abuse, by promoting, preserving, and defending their well-being and wholesome family life through Christ-centred principles.

"We would like to express heartfelt appreciation to all our corporate sponsors through the years, and to the volunteers, community members and team members who continue to help us in our goals," said Blaine.

 

Everyone's Responsibility

 

She is urging all caring and well-thinking adults to regard the safety of all children as part of their responsibility and report abuse, suspicious activities in their communities, and any other situation which puts one or more child in danger.

Hear The Children's Cry will formally observe its 15th anniversary today with a 7 a.m. thanksgiving service at the Power of Faith Ministries, Portmore Town Centre, St Catherine.

 

Some of Hear the Children's Cry successes:

 

- Designing and implementing a successful Prevent a Dropout Pilot Project for secondary schools.

- Launching a critical Schools' Safety Programme.

- Hosting a national mini summit on sexual violence against children.

- Spearheading the Ananda Alert Rapid Response to reports of missing children.

- Launching the annual National Missing Children's Awareness Week.

- Being the first Caribbean organisation to become a member of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.