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New programme focuses on building a firm foundation for at-risk girls


Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs launched its Girls Empowerment Movement and Sisterhood (GEMS) programme on Wednesday (August 31, 2022) under the theme “Girls Under Construction – Building a Firm Foundation for a Stronger Future.”

The launch was marked by a ceremony at the Lodge Community Centre attended by government officials, His Excellency Michael Lin, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), mentors, and the young people to be mentored.

Director of Gender Affairs, Virgil Jeffers, said that the programme’s design enhances the development of young girls. It also provides a suitable forum that espouses the benefits of a positive self-image, responsible personal conduct and respect for self and others.

“This programme will seek to provide a structured and trusting relationship that brings … the mentees together with caring and accountable females who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing your competencies, self-esteem and character,” he stated at the opening ceremony.

Mr. Jeffers added that statistics often testify to the success of mentorship programmes. Thus, this is a welcomed effort to positively intervene in the lives of at-risk teenagers. He saluted the mentors for volunteering their time, experience and service.

“It’s people like you who help me to believe that children who grow up in a world surrounded by doubt, fear and negativity, can still be loved, inspired and hopeful for their future,” he said. “It’s events like these that make me feel like we are building a culture where no girl can feel like they are on their own.”

The mentees were encouraged to embrace the opportunities now afforded to them. They were strongly encouraged to be “open-minded and learn from their assigned mentors.”


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