‘I am here to listen to you’ – Min Persaud commits to Guyanese children

‘Nurture with Nature’ seedling planting starts off Child Protection Week

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud has committed to listening to the concerns and needs of children across the country.

She made the commitment during the ‘Nurture with Nature’ seedling planting exercise held on Saturday at the Sophia Plum Park Children and Family Home. The event is part of activities in observance of Child Protection Week 2022.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud giving remarks on Saturday

Dr Persaud said a child requires love, encouragement, motivation, compassion, empathy and nurturing, similar to that of a plant.

“The symbolic act of planting a plant with a child opens up so many avenues and potentials for, I believe, some of the key things that will make a difference in a child’s life. If together an adult and a child can nurture a plant, nurturing it with the right soil… even showering it with love, it will bring home to both the adult and the child how necessary it is as you looked at the plant’s growth and survival how necessary it is to have those same elements in a child’s life,” she stated.

Persons present for the seedling planting exercise

The human services minister stressed that the care given to a child, like that given to a plant, must be consistent. She also highlighted the importance of listening to the concerns of children.

“One of the key things that we need to do and sometimes we don’t do it enough, is to listen to children. Some of the things they tell us may be very unpleasant; unpleasant things that may have happened to them, but this is what makes the difference in a child’s life, when we listen. And we don’t only listen to the unpleasant, we act. And we act as quickly as possible to change their circumstance.”

The minister asserted that she would be there for every child across the country, regardless of their location.

Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud and other attendees helping the children to plant trees

“Wherever you are in the country, I am here to listen to you. I am here to work for you, with you, and I am here to make sure that wherever you are in our direct care or out of it, we can move our country to a state where every child feels safe.”

Minister Persaud urged persons across the country to form support networks in the best interest of children, to provide guidance and assistance where necessary, as this is what children require.

She stated that every action taken must be impactful and transformative, so that the newer generations of adults and children will have a strong foundation and the necessary opportunities.

“I think our world will be better for it. Not only now, but in the future. So, this morning, as you plant that tree with a child, and as you, children plant the tree with us, whisper in our ears. Tell us what you need us to hear, and I want you to take care of that plant. Take care of it, watch it grow. Think of your growth too, because growing up can be tough, growing up can be challenging, but growing up we must pass through,” the minister underscored.

Some of the seedlings planted on Saturday

She urged children not to let their challenges daunt them, but to use them as lessons to equip them with the skills and knowledge for the future.

“So, with every challenge that comes your way, with every difficulty that confronts you… let it make you stronger. Let it make you wiser, and let it make you fearless. Because when there is an absence of fear, you can achieve anything that you want to achieve.”

One hundred seedlings were planted on Saturday as part of the ‘Nurture with Nature’ initiative. Of those, 20 will grow into decorative trees, and 80 of them will bear fruits.

Child Protection Week is being held from September 20 to 26 under the theme, “Protecting Children and Empowering Families to Cope with the Global Pandemic.”

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has planned a number of activities for the observance.

Representatives of the European Union, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Adrienne Galanek, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan, members of the Ministry’s Young Influencers Programme and other distinguished officials were also in attendance.