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Parent Educator with the Rural Family Support Organisation (RUFAMSO), Hyacinth Pinnock, has called on Jamaica’s children to demand that their rights to life and safety are protected at all times.
She was addressing students of the Vere Technical High School in Clarendon, at a recent Jamalco Mentorship Programme meeting held on the school grounds.
“That is a right that everybody has, the right to life, and to live well. You have the right to be safe in your homes. Even if you come to school and you do not feel safe, when you get home, you should be safe. That’s a right that you are entitled to, and a right that your parents must provide for you,” she stated.
“If you are at home and you do not feel safe, it means that everything else, your education, your health, even your right to life might be eroded, because safety is so important,” she pointed out.
She said that children also have the right to not be exploited, or be put in positions where they are made to fend for themselves, whether by “hustling” or being forced to provide sexual favours at a cost, as parents have the right to provide for, and protect their offspring.
“When you do things that are adult activities, you are not enjoying all these rights that you have as a child, and as a child, all these rights are yours, protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she stated.
Ms. Pinnock implored the youngsters to be mindful of the fact that while they have several rights, exercising these rights come with responsibilities, which should be duly observed.
“It is all well and good to say as a Jamaican, I have rights, but for all the rights we have there is a responsibility. You are the only keeper of yourself where your rights and responsibilities are concerned. So don’t shout the rights you have unless you are ready to carry out the responsibilities,” she urged.
The Jamalco Mentorship Programme was launched in October 2009 under the theme: ‘Success is an Attitude’ and it aims to provide guidance, support and leadership to students of Vere. It matches low performing students, who display behavioural problems and are lacking in social skills, with mentors drawn from Jamalco’s pool of volunteers.