The founder of Hear the Children’s Cry Betty-Anne Blaine says child poverty is one of the serious root problems affecting Jamaica’s children.
Blaine, who was addressing a virtual meeting of the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston recently, noted that approximately 45 per cent of the nation’s children have experienced poverty.
“If we are serious about fixing this problem of our children — the abuse, the neglect — we are going to have to understand what we are dealing with. Child poverty is one of the root problems. If there is an indicator in our country of the two Jamaicas in which we live, the child population is perhaps the most blatant indicator to me,” she argued.
Making reference to Secret Gardens, a monument in downtown Kingston which has the names of children who died violently since 2004, Blaine pointed out that there are some issues that affect the children of the poor and working class, but do not affect children from the middle and upper classes.
“I would say that over 90 per cent of the names of children on that monument are children of the poor and working classes in our country. Children who die in fires, who go missing, who are abducted and murdered and typically those children who die in motor vehicle accidents — a lot of them are in buses or taxis are mainly children of the poor and working classes. Those are the names on that monument,” said Blaine.
Blaine also used her address to renew her call for a child emergency summit.
“We are saying that the situation with Jamaican children now is so serious that we believe we need an Emergency Child Summit, where we can bring two groups of persons together. One group would include people working in the trenches, know the problems and have solutions, and the other group would include people who can provide resources,” she said
“It’s not a talk shop, it is a summit where we bring critical stakeholders together, to look at the problems and see if we can come up with one solution that will radically or dramatically change the situation for children in a positive way,” she added.
– Brittny Hutchinson