“Be Safe!” Guyana
The Canadian Red Cross began working with the Guyana Red Cross in 2007 to design and implement the "Be Safe!" child personal safety program in Guyana. "Be Safe" launched in October, 2008 and is based on the Canadian Red Cross RespectED: violence and abuse prevention program, in which the Canadian Red Cross has 25 years of experience in preventing violence against children.
The Guyana Red Cross has worked with vulnerable children for decades. Due to growing evidence in Guyana and around the world regarding child safety, Guyana Red Cross chose to take a leadership role in violence prevention. In Guyana, research suggests that eight to ten per cent of girls and two to five per cent of boys have been sexually abused while 87 per cent of children experience physical abuse in their homes, schools or communities.
Through story telling, puppetry, songs and hands-on activities, children in the "Be Safe!" program learn to recognize and react to threats of sexual and physical abuse. The main objective is to teach children about:
- body ownership
- body privacy
- that touches can be safe or unsafe
- secrets about touching should never be kept
- personal safety rules: Say "NO!", get away and tell someone you trust – keep telling until someone helps you.
To ensure a comprehensive approach to prevention, the program is complemented by education for adults on the different forms of abuse, how to handle disclosures, and prevention strategies.
Longtime RespectED international child protection delegate, Gurvinder Singh, provided support to the Guyana Red Cross to design the "Be Safe!" program and to develop an implementation strategy.
"The support from the Guyana Red Cross partners, such as government ministries, the school system and other agencies, is very high for this program," he notes. "Teachers, parents and communities have identified prevention programs for violence against children as a clear gap across the country."
The first year pilot project will reach approximately 2,715 adults and children. Pending the results of a study on the program’s success, the Red Cross is working on plans to expand across the country.
How You Can Help
Several Red Cross Societies throughout the Americas have shown an interest in adopting "Be Safe". Plans to expand the program require support from the Canadian public. Donations made to the Canadian Red Cross "Americas Region" support this and many other programs that help vulnerable communities in the Americas.
Make your donation:
Toll-free at 1-800-418-1111
In person at any Red Cross office
By mailing a cheque or money order to Canadian Red Cross, 170 Metcalfe Street, Ste 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2. Earmark your donation "Americas region".
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