Georgetown, Guyana – (February 16, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, met with two representatives of ChildLink Guyana Inc., to explore possible areas of collaboration and to provide guidance on the organisation’s projects.

In an invited comment, Ms. Kean Chase, Project Officer at ChildLink, said since this was the organisation’s first meeting with the First Lady she provided her with an overview of Childlink’s programme and Mrs. Granger was particularly interested in its Child Advocacy Centres (CAC), which provides counselling and therapy for survivors of sexual abuse. Currently, there are centres located in Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three), Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) and Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) and plans are in train to open centres in all Ten Administrative Regions.

“We know that [the First Lady] is very passionate as it relates to the children and issues concerning women and so we are just giving her an update on what our organisation is doing and the projects we are working on. One of the main things we discussed was our Centre which we are very proud of and the protocols associated with it. ChildLink Guyana is the only such agency among the English-speaking countries of this part of the world which is doing this sort of work and we feel with the support of the Government it can expand,” she said.

Ms. Chase said given the wealth of experience the First Lady possesses in this field, she used the opportunity to solicit advice on project planning. “Because she is so knowledgeable about projects, she was able to give us some advice on the way forward. We are currently working with the Ministry of Social Protection and to have her support, we feel reassured that we are doing the right thing,” Ms. Chase said.

Mrs. Granger, in a brief comment, said that the meeting was both interesting and informative. She also said that she was most impressed with the ‘forensic interviews’, which are conducted at the centres for children who have been abused.

“They told me about the forensic interviews and established mechanisms through which children can relate their experiences and have it recorded so that they are not pressured to do it over and over again in Court cases or for the Police and other agencies. So … they bring the different agencies together and have one interview with the child … and … through their questioning, allow the child to share [his/her experience]. I also suggested to them that they might look at linkages with other organisations that work with women and children,” Mrs. Granger said.

Ms. Tiandi Massiah, Finance Officer at ChildLink, also attended the meeting. ChildLink Guyana Inc. works alongside the Childcare Protection Agency (CPA) to provide care, counselling and other such services to children who have been victims of abuse.

The First Lady is a firm advocate of the Government’s programmes to enhance the lives of women and children. In December, her Office partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to find new strategies to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy and, on Tuesday February 15, she threw her support behind the Ministry of Education’s recently announced plan to reintegrate teen mothers back into the school system.

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