Construction begins on Arya Samaj benevolent home

December 22, 2012 | By KNews | Filed Under News

By Leon Suseran

Construction has begun on the US$400,000 Benevolent Home at Ankerville, Port Mourant Corentyne. A simple block- laying ceremony was recently held at the site. The fence has started to take shape around the complex. The New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission, turned the sod for the construction of the complex in March of this year.
The home will provide accommodation for street children, abused persons, the aged without family, as well as provide a skills training centre meant to train and empower not only the residents of the village, but also single parents, teenage mothers, and school dropouts, amongst others. According to a representative of the NJASHM, Pandit Kamaldeo Dhanessar, Phase One of the massive project has begun and is scheduled to be completed by January 2013. Upon completion, Phase Two, the construction of an empowerment centre, will begin.
“The empowerment centre will be a centre for skills training. One of our objectives is to reach out to the community where we have single parents and school dropouts, so that by having this centre ready, we can begin the skills training of all these people who are not empowered”. The aim of the mission is to empower people for social and economic well- being. “We are hoping that this whole project, upon completion by March 2014, will become a hub of activities, and will be of great social and economic benefit for the Region 6 community”, he added. “Of course, we may have instances where people outside of Region Six will be accommodated in the dormitories that we will be setting up later on. We hope that we will have the cooperation of all stakeholders”.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Region Six Councilor, Mr Crawford, who also laid a block at the ceremony, said that he has been paying very close ‘attention to the benevolent home project. “I feel very much honoured to participate in such an activity, because, for the time that this organization has been established in Guyana, I have been very impressed by the number of projects they have done in schools. “They will have our fullest support.” Imran Ally, Deputy Regional Executive Officer, who represented the Government of Guyana, also laid a block. He was pleased about the start of the actual construction. “We are pleased to be here at this cornerstone laying and for his initiative happening right here in Berbice and we just want to say hats- off and kudos to the mission.” Ally noted, too, that the government knows that it cannot fulfill all the needs of the people by itself, “and here is where we have an organization partnering with the government to bring relief to the less- fortunate”. He applauded the government’s commitment to support the project, and provide technical assistance “to continue to see this project to its completion stage and it comes to fruition”

An Evening of Hope – February 2, 2013! – IN CANADA!

 IN AID OF THE OF THE NEW JERSEY ARYA SAMAJ HUMANITARIAN MISSION VILLAGE PROTECT

YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE IT… AN EVENT FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY…

We kindly request you and your family support, for this fund raising event in aid of building a much needed benevolent home in Guyana that will offer a safe haven for victims of gender-based violence and orphans. Not only that, but it will also house a Skills Development Centre. Thirdly a benevolent home for seniors.

The aim of the mission is to empower people for social and economic well being.

DATE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2013
TIME: 5:00-8:00 P.M.
VENUS: VEDIC CULTURAL CENTRE
4345, 14TH AVENUE
(KENNEDY & 14TH AVE)
MARKHAM ONT

AN EVENING OF SONGS| CANADIAN AND AMERICAN ARTISTES accompanied by David Singh- Keyboardist and Mandolin player; JEETU- Flute and Bansuri player; DANCE, COMEDY| BY Mark Trinidad, POETRY| Nadine Williams DINNER, RAFFLE| (Prizes over $200 in Value!),
FASHION SHOW| ft. Kiran’s Couture, AND MUCH MORE!!
TICKETS: ADULTS -$15 ;
CHILD (6-12 YRS): $10
CHILD UNDER 6 YRS : FREE

However if for any reason you are unable to attend, we humbly ask if possible…Can you each donate $20.00 towards helping our brothers and sisters in Guyana. Remember your donation will go towards :
1) Stop Gender Based Violence
2) Orphans
3) Empowerment through Skills Training
4) Home for Seniors
Please let us know if you would like to donate towards this worthwhile cause. we will make arrangements of send you your receipt.
If you will attend we can have tickets dropped off for you. Just let us know the amount, or we can have them at the door for you to pick up.

NJASMHM reaches out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy

On Sunday, November 11, 2012, members of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission, awoke prior to sunrise to set voyage upon their activity for the day.  At the Elegant Rose Hall, located in Bronx, NY, the members prepared delicious hot meals to distribute to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Far Rockaway, Queens,  NY. As many may have known, this vicious Hurricane came strongly and put many to shock, leaving millions without power, and even creating terrible damage to properties.  Members and volunteers of the organization vouched to help our community by feeding the hungry of whom may have lost everything, for Far Rockaway was badly affected.  The victims were deeply appreciative, responding back with a “thank you,” and even a “God Bless Your Soul.”

If you would like to see more pictures on this event, please click on the links below:

Preparation of the Hot Meals | Distribution of the Hot Meals

Sod turned at Ankerville for Arya Samaj humanitarian village

By   |  Monday, March 26, 2012

Vulnerable persons are expected to benefit from a humanitarian village that will be constructed at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne by the New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana Chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission.

 

 

According to a release from the Government Infor-mation Agency, street children, abused persons and elderly persons without families will be housed at the humanitarian mission village while single parents, teenaged mothers and school dropouts will be provided with skills training.

 

After the completion of construction, the humanitarian village will produce a technical/vocational education programme for accreditation with the Ministry of Educa-tion for empowerment, work towards the eradication of poverty through empowerment and education by making available competence-based skills for the village’s residents and school dropouts living in the nearby area; empower residents with personal development skills and reform them for positive contributions to society.
At the sod turning ceremony on Saturday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, according to the GINA press release, expressed his appreciation towards the organization for efforts which he said complement the work of the government.
“In a world where we all find ourselves stretched to provide for our needs, the Samaj has embarked on a project to help the needs of the less fortunate… I challenge and encourage others to do what they could to meet the evidenced need of their community,” he stated.
Also addressing the gathering was Region Six Chair-man, David Armogan, who opined that persons living in the countryside are the ones mostly affected by societal ills and as a result, considered the location suitable.
“At the regional level, we are committed to such a project, as such whatever is necessary for us to do, we will do… other friendly societies, NGOs and social groups are welcomed to partner with the region to address societal problems,” Armogan stated.
Red Thread Representative, Karen De Souza, said that there will never be enough organizations addressing the needs of the less fortunate. “Whilst this initiative is impressive, we have to commit ourselves to being willing, bold and brave enough to speak out against societal issues… we need to call out the influential people to desist from abusing and taking advantage of the poor and those that are weak willed,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Webster, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, considered the sod turning for the construction of the village as historic in Guyana, and moreover for Region Six.
“The Samaj is a body we should be proud of for the humanitarian work they are doing and their initiative to fund a project that will help the less fortunate… government is committed to working with not only the Samaj but any other organization that is willing to become a partner as we must all join forces to rid society of age long societal ills,” Webster said.
She further stated that if these persons are denied access to services of support, society will rapidly deteriorate as these ills are on the increase.
“This is something that must be dealt with… we have seen increased efforts from the judiciary in dealing with matters of domestic violence and child abuse… however, many of our victims at the end of it all cannot face up to what happened to them, therefore the need for support,” the Human Service Minister pointed out.
United States Embassy, Deputy Chief of Mission, Thomas Pierce considered the Arya Samaj and like organizations as indispensible and noted that they assist government by providing a number of social services which spur development.
Canadian High Commis-sioner, David Devine, expressed pleasure with the Samaj for not only this project but previous works, particularly in the area of humanitarian relief. He said that such selfless acts speak volumes and should not go unrecognized.
Also present, GINA said, was Guyana’s Consul General to Canada, Sattie Sawh, who said “we are witnessing the commencement of something that will have impact on thousands who stand to benefit… this project is significant as it cuts across religion and political and cultural identities as it will be opened for the betterment of all and it will not only be a place to have a meal or spend the night but it will also offer educational and skills training opportunities, which is exemplary”.


Sod turned for Humanitarian Mission Village on the Corentyne

March 26, 2012 | By KNews | Filed Under News
Kaieteur News

– will be safe haven for seniors, orphans, and victims of gender-based violence

By Leon Suseran

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and other high- level dignitaries turned the sod for the construction of a Humanitarian Mission Village, the first of its kind in Guyana, for Port Mourant, Berbice.
The project is being carried out by the New Jersey Arya Samaj/Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission and when completed, will be a safe haven for seniors, persons afflicted as a result of gender- based violence and orphans. The complex will be established at Lots 21-26 Area 2 Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne.
Guyana is being plagued by critical social and family problems. These include suicide, domestic violence, child abuse, children abandoned by parents and exploitation of individuals because of a lack of individual empowerment.
In giving an overview of the project, Pandit Kamal Dhanessar said that the village will house an empowerment centre which will offer skills training in areas such as Information Technology, garment construction, food catering, basic vehicle repairs and electrical installation. The residents will live for a period of time in the village “and when they leave this village, we hope they will be coming out with the necessary skills that they can move into the mainstream society, in the community.”
A guest house will also be erected for overseas- based members of the Mission and on the lower flat there will be off- duty nurses, “because…we also visualise we will need nurses to take care of the old folks and of the children who will be living in the village”. The ambitious project will also see the construction of a multi- cultural shed and “a part of it will be enclosed as multiple prayer rooms where the residents will be allowed to practice their religion”.
The organisation noted that although government has piloted the requisite laws relating to child abuse, domestic violence and other social problems facing Guyanese, the social ills continue unabated. The Humanitarian Village will provide accommodation for street children, abused persons, aged persons without families, as well as provide skills training meant to train and empower not only the residents of the Mission Village, but also single parents, teenage mothers and school drop-outs.
There will also be a tech- voc education programme for accreditation with the Ministry of Education for empowerment.
President of Red Thread, Karen de Souza lauded the effort of the Arya Samaj Mission “because there will never be enough of us who are addressing the needs of the vulnerable and needy”. She noted that while it is good to “put up buildings” the issues should be addressed, such as “skills and how do we move the vulnerable kids and abused women to situations to independence and taking care of themselves”.
“We have to commit ourselves and be bold to speak out when we see our friends and relatives being violent”.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Jennifer Webster, in her address, gave the government’s commitment to the project, “because if we don’t arrest this problem and ensure our victims have access to justice, then our society will go further downhill”. She added that the judicial system is committed “now to working with us…and once we have legislation in place, there is need for us to look at issues affecting the implementation and to try to have these issues resolved”. She pledged to amend laws if possible, “because we cannot allow the perpetrators to get away and to flee…and many of our victims have been left traumatised and they have to endure counseling and….cannot face up to what has happened to them”. “Many of the victims are women and as a woman, I feel that we have to help each other…join forces…no matter what…help those woman, children to build their self- esteem and a project such as this is a commendable project because the mission will provide a number of facilities and skills”.
President of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission, Pandit Suresh Sugrim chronicled the breakdown of the nation’s societal fabric and blamed it on entertainment shows that are laced with selling of alcohol especially to minors and children.
One such show was held in Canje last weekend, “and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life”. “What I saw last Saturday…was a total shame and disgrace to our country that we allow international artistes to come into our country and take our people away”. He urged the religious leaders present at the ground- breaking ceremony to unite and tell the government “that enough is enough and whenever these artistes come into our country, and they’re gone, how are we going to fix the damage? Our people, children and family, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters were all getting drunk; where are our morals and values, the mandirs, churches and mosques?” he questioned.
U.S. Charge de Affairs Thomas Pierce, in adding his bit, stated that the people-to-people activities, that do not involve government, “are all important facets of our bilateral relationship”. He lauded the Mission Village since it will be a place that will approach the problems in a comprehensive way in that skills training will also be provided for the residents, “and will also support other victims of domestic violence”. He pledged the U.S.’s support to the issues that the Mission Village will be tackling.
Consul General to Canada, Mrs. Sattie Sawh was proud of the type of work that is taking place and offered her encouragement to the project. “This village is addressing a need that exists far beyond the boundaries of any one religion, racial, political or social group….and addressing any and all disadvantaged people does not have a single discriminatory aim and I am very proud of this”.
High Commissioner of Canada, His Excellency David Devine noted that there is a need for such a project and urged that recognition be given to projects such as these. He urged the government and private sector to work together to support such ventures.
“The vision of this project is that of empowerment and that is a critical message, and it is open to all religions.”
It is important, he said, to focus on the root of the problem and pledged his government’s support to such programmes.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds congratulated Pandit Sugrim and the NJASHM. Hinds, in addressing the gathering, stated that he has taken note on the comments of Pandit Sugrim of the kind of entertainers that have been coming to Guyana “and they do pose a problem….and I took note of the call that we should celebrate good role models”. He pledged that the government would do what it can but insisted that citizens should play their part as well.
“Let’s get the building going and I hope we develop enough momentum that the other challenges will be met”. He challenged others in Guyana to do similar projects “to meet the evident needs….so that we could establish a network of bonds through caring, sharing for each other”.
Construction of the complex will begin within a month.

Arya Samaj turns sod for construction of benevolent home

The New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission on Saturday turned the sod for the construction of a humanitarian home at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Region Six.

 

The home will provide accommodation for street children, abused persons, aged persons without family, as well as provide a skills training centre meant to train and empower not only the residents of the village, but also single parents, teenage mothers, and school drop outs, amongst others.

 

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds registered his appreciation to the Arya Samaj groups for its humanitarian efforts which complements the work of the government.

 

“ In a world where we all find ourselves stretched to provide for our needs, the Samaj has embarked on a project to help the needs of the less fortunate… I challenge and encourage others to do what they could to meet the evidenced need of their community,” the Government Information Agency ( GINA) quoted prime minister as saying.

 

The prime minister believes that in doing so, a network can be established countrywide, which will complement government’s efforts at addressing social ills.

 

Region Six Chairman David Armogan said the facility will look at addressing the social ills in society.
“ The location for such an initiative is perfect as it is in the countryside that persons are affected most from societal ills… at the regional level, we are committed to such a project, as such, whatever is necessary for us to do, we will do… other friendly societies, NGOs and social groups are welcomed to partner with the region to address societal problems,” Armogan said.

 

Karen De Souza of Red Thread said that there will never be enough organisations addressing the needs of the poor and needy.
“ Whilst this initiative is impressive, we have to commit ourselves to being willing, bold and brave enough to speak out against societal issues… we need to call out the influential people to de sist from abusing and taking advantage of the poor…,” De Souza said.
Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr Jenifer Webster said the sod turning for the construction of the home is historic in Guyana and Region Six, as it means that a wider range of social services will be available to its residents.

 

“ The Samaj is a body we should be proud of for the humanitarian work they are doing and their initiative to fund a project that will help the less fortunate… government is committed to working with not only the Samaj, but any other organisation that is willing to become a partner, as we must all join forces to rid society of age- long societal ills,” the human services minister said.

 

She added that if victims of such ills do not have access to services of support, then society will rapidly deteriorate, as the ills are on the increase.

 

“ This is something that must be dealt with… we have seen increased efforts from the judiciary in dealing with matters of domestic violence and child abuse… however, many of our victims at the end of it all cannot face up to what had happened to them, therefore the need for support,” Minister Webster said.

 

Minister within the Finance Ministry Bishop Juan Edghill said that people need to return to the spiritual basis because living in a religious setting lays the foundation for decent living, and it particularly promotes the strengthening of the family and love, which is the solution to the societal ills that are seen today.

 

“ We must stop posting stories of men behaving dysfunctional on the front pages of our print media… we need to change the message that is being spread through society from hate to love, as these things are missing in our society today. Seldom do you see someone highlight a man and his wife enjoy a romantic moment… no amount of legislation can stop the scourge of domestic violence and we cannot only invest money, but we should also invest the moral teaching which will lead to the repair and restoration,” Minister Edghill said.

 

United States Embassy, Charges D’ Affaires, Thomas Pierce said organisations as the Arya Samaj are indispensible as they assist government in providing a number of social services which boosts development. Pierce said that the project being undertaken by the Arya Samaj groups further assist those in the community and expose them to skills training, and other educational opportunities which will see them living better lives.

 

Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana David Devine registered his pleasure with the religious groups for their work, particularly in the field of humanitarian relief. The high commissioner believes that such selfless acts by or ganisations that recognise the need to give back to those in need around them speak volumes and should not go unnoticed.

 

Guyana’s Consul General to Canada Sattie Sawh said, “ We are witnessing the commencement of something that will have impact on thou sands who stand to benefit… this project is significant as it cuts across religion and political and cultural identities, as it will be opened for the betterment of all and, it will not only be a place to have a meal or spend the night, but it will also offer educational and skills training opportunities, which is exemplary”. The humanitarian home when constructed will produce a technical vocational education programme for accreditation by the Education Ministry; work towards the eradication of poverty through empowerment and education by making available competence- based skills for the village’s residents and even school drop outs living in nearby area; empower residents with personal development skills and reform residents for positive contributions to society.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN BE REDUCED IF MALES ARE TARGETED

Written by Leroy Smith  Guyana Chronicle

Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:30

–practice destroys social fabric

DOMESTIC violence could be vastly reduced if there was a more serious approach to the root causes of the problem — the men in society.
This is according to Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill, who opined that if there is not meaningful input into the cause of the problem, society would forever be confronted with battered women, abused children, orphans and broken homes.

Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster is greeted By Pandit Suresh Sugrim on her arrival

The minister was speaking to scores of persons who had gathered on Saturday to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the Humanitarian Village of the New Jersey Arya Samaj at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice.
Minister Edghill thinks there should be direct contact with grown men and young boys when several issues are addressed, domestic violence being one of them. He said domestic violence comes from a depraved heart, and that the practice is learned behaviour.
Minister Edghill, who is also a minister of the Gospel, opined that the behaviour can be changed. He commended the Arya Samaj for the step it took in providing a safe haven for persons who have suffered as a result of this practice by males, but said that that was only the beginning of the process.

Bishop Edghill explained that there was also need for more focus to be placed on the family, since the family was an institution that played an important role in the society.
He said that rather than trying to change the definition of the family, like was being done by some people, what the family really needed was strengthening.

Returning to spirituality was also another effective way of addressing the issue, the Bishop proffered. He reminded that, despite the faith and religion one practices, all speak of the need to strengthen the family as well as love.
Once those principles were adhered to, the minister opined, the problems of domestic or child abuse should be eliminated, as those would be contradictory to the teachings of one’s religion.
If those principles were not taught and practised, society would forever have to be responding to the call for protective facilities and homes like the one the Samaj intended to erect.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Jennifer Webster, who also spoke at the event, said she would ensure she remained accessible and open to working with all those whose vision was to rid the society of gender-based violence, because it has long been a social illness in the society, and continues to destroy society’s moral fabric.
She added that if the issues that affect the family, and moreso women, were not addressed, society would be sunk further by domestic violence. She mentioned that, at the level of the government, she was going to ensure that the legislative framework in place to protect women and children was utilized to its fullest.
She also told those gathered that if there were areas that were causing victims not to be properly protected, then the laws would have to be revised where necessary. She urged all women to get on board, and to speak with one voice to effectively be heard in their quest to stop the practice of domestic violence, which seemed to be a fixture in society of late.

Other issues

Special invitees putting all hands on board to turn the sod for the Humanitarian Village

Domestic violence is seen as one of the major problems for women and children, but there are other issues which affect the lives of those persons, and those should also be address.
Minister Webster spoke of empowering women, offering training in the areas of life skills for both women and girls, while building the self-esteem of children as areas which should also be focused upon.
She assured that she would be working with all those who expressed an interest in addressing the issues that affected children and women.
The sod turning event was attended by Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, who is at the moment also performing the duties of President of Guyana. The Acting Head of State said he was extremely pleased with the move by the Arya Samaj in responding to a very real need of the society. Over the years, he said, the Arya Samaj has been looking beyond its personal needs and priorities in an effort to channel help in the direction of the less fortunate.
In her address, Ms. Varshni Singh made mention of the importance of rendering assistance to those who needed it, regardless of their religious and other beliefs. She pledged her support to working with the Minister of Human Services and Social Security in the area of children and women’s interests.
Karen De Souza of Red Tread underscored the need for the Government to be more aggressive in safeguarding the rights of those who sought the service of the state for justice.
Also speaking at the event were representatives from ‘Rights of the Child’, Red Tread, and members of the diplomatic corps. The event also saw attendance from representatives of the various faiths, business and regional officials of Region 6, and volunteers of the Samaj.

The sod-turning comes almost two months after the organisation was granted a plot of land by President Donald Ramotar, having written and getting approval from former President Bharrat Jagdeo for a plot of land upon which to construct.
The works of the New Jersey chapter are being aided locally by the Guyana Central Arya Samaj. The new facility will be built at Lot 21-26 Ankerville, Port Mourant, where the land is located.
The Humanitarian Village will cater for the elderly, homeless, physically challenged, abused, and victims of fire and other situations that cause persons to be separated from their homes.
The Arya Samaj plans to work very closely with the Government of Guyana and any other organisation, irrespective of its religious and/or ethnic standing.

Emotionally- charged Inter-faith candlelight service held for abused victims

February 18, 2012 | By | Filed Under News

-woman shares her painful story

By Leon Suseran

Hundreds filled Spready’s Square at Port Mourant on the Corentyne on Wednesday

Amelia Veeren, victim of domestic violence sharing her painful storyevening in one of the first ever Inter-faith candlelight services to show solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.

Hindus, Christians and Muslims from all walks of life, Non- Governmental Organisations, Government leaders and the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission (NJASHM) all joined in making a loud call for more attention to be placed on dealing with the “cancer” and what many refer to as “the disease” of sexual abuse, especially of young children in Berbice and Guyana as a whole.
The evening began with several keynote speakers who spoke to the issue of violence in every form and shared what needs to be done to aggressively tackle the societal breakdown that exists.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Honorable Jennifer Webster, emphasised the brutal violence being committed on persons of both genders. “No one can be immune to the daily horrific stories in the media; they invade our homes and lives with an increasing regularity. Victims are crying for help. The family; the very fabric of society is silently begging for our help as they are ripped asunder by one violent act after another”.
Fathers, she said, perform violent acts on mothers and children, mothers abuse children and friends react in violence at the ‘slightest provocation and the list continues”. Minister noted that parents are the greatest teachers and that “men learn to abuse their wives if they have grown up watching their fathers do so”. “Victims of violence feel hopeless because of the perceived notion that there is no way out, no help and lack of care from those around them”, she noted.
Professor Daizal R. Samad of the University of Guyana urged the gathering to join hands and form a protective barrier if the evil is to be combated. He pinpointed the Guyana Police Force, religious organisations, social groups, the legal community and private sector for having very important roles to play to fight sexual abuse and violence. “I cannot tell you the number of times that wives have come to see me with complaints that they were beaten by their husbands; in two cases, parents have come and shown me bloody clothes from children as young as five years old”, he stated. He added that his social work students at the Berbice Campus are working in hands-on ways to examine these social diseases. He urged the gathering to carefully ponder upon where these acts are being committed the most, what the levels of prosecution are and why are these acts happening, so that information collected can assist with the fight of abuses that are happening.
He chronicled the breakdown of society. “…we have lost control of ourselves. We drink, behave in shameful ways, swear in the loudest voices, and become violent for little or no reason”, he stated. He added his disgust with a popular newspaper columnist who penned an

A section of the gathering during the candle light service article titled ‘Corruption is worse than rape!’ and called the statement a “dreadful, callous and irresponsible” one. “Tell that to our children– males and females– that have been raped!” He referred to the perpetrators of rape and sexual abuse as people “without conscience, without decency, without goodness”. “There are men that I have met who would insist that it is the right of a man to beat his partner. I have warned them not to speak such things in my company…I try to keep as far away from these kinds of diseased people as I can”.

Then the audience with their candles lit, listened to the painful story of an abused victim, Corentyne teacher, Amelia Veeren, who shared her difficult story with the public and broke down in tears several times during the address. She allegedly endured a painful struggle with her husband but was able to get out of the relationship before things turned for the worst. She received a standing ovation for her bravery that evening.
Also speaking to the audience was the mother of the five- year- old rape victim from East Canje. The mother made her appearance in public for the first time since her daughter was brutally raped under the Canje River Bridge on December 22, 2011. She urged the police to find the rapist and bring him to justice.
Regional Chairman of Region 6, David Armogan stated during his address that somewhere in Guyana “right now, another woman is being abused”. “This new feature of our society …is getting completely out of hand”. Statistics, he said, show that domestic violence “affects women and children of all strata of society and therefore, there must be a total approach to this form of violence”. He noted new and modern legislations have been passed including the Domestic Violence Act and Child Protection Act, all of which have assisted in the fight of sexual abuse. Organisations like Red Thread, The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, among others, “have been formed to tackle this problem”. “Despite the interventions of new organisations and legislations, the problem goes unabated”.
He called for new approaches to deal with the problem, such as strengthening the family unit and helping them to be grounded in religious beliefs. “We have to be able to look out for our brothers and sisters”, he stated. He urged the gathering, “How many of you sitting here have not seen your neighbour suffering from domestic violence and a child being ill- treated in the home and have said something to the authorities?” He said people need to speak out and report it or else “the problem will continue unabated”.
“We need to get back to some level of morality in our society….because it is through this that decency is built”.  He quoted Mahatma Gandhi by saying  “The brutality of this world is not caused so much by the acts of bad men, but by the silence of good men”, he told the audience. The business community, represented by the Upper Corentyne Chambers of Commerce (UCCCI), lauded the event and said that it was long overdue. “We have, however concluded through our intensive interactions with the Upper Corentyne primary and secondary schools, that the foremost cause of sexual abuse proliferation is due to the breakdown of moral fabric in the home and community levels. A lack of positive role models at home and in the community leaves many youngsters at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals and the pressures created by mass media, a media where sex sells”. Other causes of these crimes, they added, were the incomplete penalty enforcement system, “poverty and a disconcerted effort by stakeholders”.
Other speakers included the CEO of the Berbice Regional Health Authority, St Francis Community Developers and Guyanese Women in Development (GuyWid). The ‘B’ Division Police, including the Commander, was a no- show even though they were invited as important stakeholders in the issue.
After the inter- faith service, participants viewed a movie, “Enough”,  starring Jennifer Lopez, that chronicled the struggle and tale of a young mother who was being brutally abused by her husband.