Sandals Foundation has donated $28, 000.00 as a grant to the Sweet Water foundation and is now recognised as a partner in its RISE programme.
RISE (Respect, Inspiration, Self Esteem, Empowerment) will be targeting young girls who are victims of sexual abuse to get them on the road to recovery.
During a recent ceremony held at the Sandals LaSource hotel in the south of the island, Director of the Sweet Water Foundation, Dr. Hazel Dabreo made a presentation on the RISE programme to a number of stakeholders.
Dr. Dabreo stated that in the Caribbean, one in every three girls are sexually abused and most of the time it is done by someone they know.
“…We are saying we need to go for none in three rather than one in three or one in five. The Sweet Water has taken up the responsibility to protect children and so has Sandals Foundation,” she said.
The Sweet Water Foundation is the first NGO in the Caribbean to focus exclusively on child sexual abuse and a healing intervention both for victims and their perpetrators and the grant provided by Sandals is intended to fund three cycles in the RISE programme that target girls ages 12-18 who has experience sexual abuse of any form.
Each cycle runs for 14 weeks and those involved in the programme meet once a week on Thursdays from 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Dr Dabreo explained to stakeholders how the sessions are conducted.
She said: “In the 14 weeks we have, half of the sessions (are) left entirely up to the girls to run at their own paste. So it’s not prescriptive, it’s not dictative but it is scientific, it is evidence based and it is framed in their strict ethical guideline. The girls have an opportunity to come to a safe space where they feel welcomed and accepted just as they are without judgment and they are allowed to bring up issues that they face in their own voice at their own pace in their own time.
“We have Dr. Beverly Nelson, she comes in to give a presentation on sexual and reproductive health, Jasmin Redhead from the Legal Aid clinic will come in and simulate a court room setting where girls enact how they think it will unfold in the court room – all very interactive and very intense, very compelling and we learn collectively from these presentations,” she added.