Participants in the “Return to Happiness: Caribbean” programme with facilitators Erva Jones-Richardson (left), Charmaine Glover (second left) and Cecilia Gittens-Roosberg (right).
ST. EUSTATIUS–United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, together with the Public Entity’s Community Care Centre and Expertise Centre Education (ECE) Care St. Eustatius, held a two-day workshop on the “Return to Happiness: Caribbean” programme on Statia.
The workshop was held at the Alma building near Bethel Methodist School. Return to Happiness is a psychosocial recovery programme developed by UNICEF for children who have experienced the trauma of natural disasters, conflicts or violence.
UNICEF advisor for rights of the child on Statia Dirkje de Jong, who was not able to attend the workshop due to injury, said the programme has been implemented in many countries including Mozambique, Columbia, El Salvador, Venezuela and Belize.
In the Caribbean, the programme has also been introduced in Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbuda, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and St. Vincent after the hurricanes passed in September 2017.
Return to Happiness: Caribbean targets children aged 5 to 12 years old, in the immediate period following their experience of trauma. The programme was launched in St. Maarten in March 2018, and now also in Statia.
“As we all know the next hurricane season is already there, so it is important to learn lessons from last year and make sure that we are ready,” said De Jong.
Invitations for the two-day training went out to representatives of schools, after school programmes and youth organisations. Workshop attendees stated the workshop was very informative and they would be “happy” to introduce what they have learned into their daily practices at the workplace.