- The Students’ Union of the University of Technology (UTech) is continuing its fight against violence through its annual fundraising Tag Drive, which is being held this year under the theme ‘Keep the Peace, Save our Streets’.
- This year’s beneficiaries are the Musgrave Girls’ Home, the Walker’s Place of Safety, the Marie Atkins Centre and the Union’s ‘Teach the Youth’ student-administered summer community programme.
- Speaking to JIS News, Director of Community Services, Jerome Clarke, noted that this year’s focus is a continuation of the 2016/17 theme, ‘Cease the Silence, End the Violence’.
The Students’ Union of the University of Technology (UTech) is continuing its fight against violence through its annual fundraising Tag Drive, which is being held this year under the theme ‘Keep the Peace, Save our Streets’.
Dubbed ‘a special campaign seeking to stop violence against women’, the Tag Drive, now in its 52nd year, is set to take the message across Jamaica, while collecting funds to benefit a number of charities.
This year’s beneficiaries are the Musgrave Girls’ Home, the Walker’s Place of Safety, the Marie Atkins Centre and the Union’s ‘Teach the Youth’ student-administered summer community programme.
Speaking to JIS News, Director of Community Services, Jerome Clarke, noted that this year’s focus is a continuation of the 2016/17 theme, ‘Cease the Silence, End the Violence’.
Explaining the choice of beneficiaries, Mr. Clarke noted that the Musgrave Girls’ Home, which houses girls who have suffered abuse, aligns with this year’s theme.
He explained that the assistance to the Walker’s Place of Safety began late last year when the Students’ Union hosted a treat for the wards prior to the fire that gutted the home in January. He pointed out that the students wanted to help in a tangible way, earmarking some of this year’s collections for the State-run institution.
The Students’ Union, he said, is driven to have meaningful participation in community initiatives and will, this year, channel some of the funds raised into its own Teach the Youth three-week summer programme, administered and taught by UTech students in communities in close vicinity to the Papine area where the university is located.
“We realise how impactful the programme has been on a number of students from these communities. There are a number of students from the programme now coming to UTech, actually being in the Union and participating in activities. So, we decided that we would put more money into Teach the Youth and try to get it bigger and better – perhaps we can go more weeks or expand the curriculum,” Mr. Clarke explained.
Psychology lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, Henry Lewis, who was the guest speaker at the Tag Drive launch, commended the students for the stance taken and encouraged them to transform the initiative into a sustained campaign.
“It will involve advocacy, and this is what the Union wants to become – a union that… makes an impact,” he implored.
Mr. Clarke, who is an executive life coach and training consultant, said that fighting for the rights of women and children is a worthy cause.
He informed that studies show that globally, one in five women and girls under the age of 50 have reported experiencing physical and sexual violence from an intimate partner within a 12-month period.
The figure is higher in the Caribbean, with 21 per cent women and girls, aged 15 and 40, reporting having experienced physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner within the first 12 months of the relationship.
“Preventing violence against women requires all of us working together. We must increase advocacy and awareness. We must strengthen the partnership across the counties, across universities.
We must empower women and girls to speak up for themselves,” Mr. Smith said.
The Tag Drive week of activities includes a Corporate Drive on Friday (February 23), where students will be travelling on buses throughout the Corporate Area to solicit funds.
On Saturday (February 24), the team will embark on the Rural Drive across Jamaica. Persons wishing to make a contribution may contact the Students Union at UTech.