Enough of the violence!

G’town goes orange during 16-day gender-based violence awareness
─First Lady highlights plan to eliminate domestic violence

First Lady, Her Excellency Arya Ali today led a tree-wrapping exercise along the Main Street Avenue, Georgetown to raise awareness about domestic abuse as part of 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali garlands this tree trunk in the Main Street Avenue as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign

The First Lady was joined by the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud and representatives from High Commission of Canada to Guyana and the United Nations.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali is flanked by, from left to right, UN Resident Coordinator (a.i.) Mr. Robert Natiello; Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud; Head of Aid/Counsellor High Commission of Canada, Ms. Janine Cocker and another representative.

The First Lady said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in incidences of domestic abuse, and the activity was designed to help to raise awareness about this scourge.  Mrs. Ali said her Office has pursued several initiatives to empower victims of abuse who remain trapped due to a lack of adequate finances.

“We are currently in discussion with vocational institutions to provide skills training to female entrepreneurs and are exploring ways to provide financial capital to female owned start-ups, especially in rural areas,” the First Lady said.

She pledged to continue working closely with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and private institutes to curb domestic violence and its root causes.

Meanwhile, Dr. Persaud said each individual has a role to play in reducing this ill.

“I want to send a strong appeal to everyone that it starts with all of us, it starts with the messaging that we have in our homes, reinforcements of those messages in schools, the wider community and of course by extension the country.”

Dr. Persaud explained that the colour orange was chosen because it “represents resilience, strength and endurance and those are the qualities that we ask persons who move from the stage of victimhood to survivors.”

She said her Ministry has been doing its best to bring awareness about the scourge and to provide avenues to curb it.  

In Guyana, the figures are staggering.  The Minister said that about 55 per cent of Guyanese women experience domestic violence. In 2020, 17 mothers lost their lives, leaving 43 children with broken homes.

Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator (a.i.) Mr. Robert Natiello, said that focus must also be placed on the dreaded abuse that members of the LGBTQ+ community and migrant women and girls also face.

He praised Guyana for signing on to the UN’s Spotlight Initiative, which was launched in the country in October 2020.

Monday’s event was held in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada under the UN Secretariat’s UNiTE by 2030 t0 End Violence Against Women campaign.  The theme for the 2020 UNiTE Campaign is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.

Head of Aid/Counsellor High Commission of Canada, Ms. Janine Cocker also attended the event. She said Canada has focused on eradicating domestic violence and is pleased to partner with Guyana on this initiative.

The State House was Monday evening lit with orange lights in solidarity and to bring more awareness to the issue.

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